For Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, the goal was to become president or bust. Mere days after dropping out of the 2016 presidential race, Rubio has stated that once his senate terms ends, he will retreat from politics, at least for the foreseeable future.
On Mar. 17, 44-year-old Rubio returned to the Senate after calling it quits from the GOP primary. He suffered a humiliating defeat in his home state of Florida against Republican presidential candidate and front runner Donald Trump.
Reporters asked the Florida senator if he would consider being the eventual GOP nominee’s vice-president pick, CBS News reports.
“I’m not going to be anybody’s vice president,” Rubio said. “I don’t mean that in a disrespectful way.”
Instead of leaving the door open for a comeback following his failed campaign, Rubio swore that his career in politics was over.
“I’m not going to be vice president, I’m not running for governor of Florida, I’m going to finish out my term in the Senate over the next ten months,” Rubio said. “We’re going to work really hard here and we have some things we want to achieve. And then I’ll be a private citizen.”
Rubio’s pledge to leave politics is consistent with statements he made when he first entered the presidential race in April 2015, when he told NPR that he would not be seeking reelection in the Senate.
"I am not, Rubio told NPR in April 2015. "And the reason I think strongly about that is, if you've decided that you want to serve this country as its president, that's what you should be running for."
He added that having a Plan B would hold back his presidential ambitions because if your mind is always on "if this doesn't work," then it diminishes anyone's ability to succeed on the campaign.
During his presidential campaign, Rubio only won three contests: Puerto Rico, District of Columbia and Minnesota.
On Mar. 16, Rubio held a conference call with his Minnesota supporters to express his thanks. He apologized for dropping out of the race, but asserted that, following his loss in Florida, he did not have a clear path forward to winning the nomination without being handed it in a contested convention, Twin Cities Pioneer Press reports.
“Winning a general election with a nominee that a significant percentage of the base thinks stole it, even though you did it through the rules of the RNC, would be pretty much fatal for the party,” Rubio said.
The Florida senator has not officially endorsed any of the remaining GOP candidates, but he did tell his Minnesota supporters that Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas was “the only conservative left in the race.”