Marco Rubio had some sharp, good things to say about Trump and the current situation. Watch the whole thing. Excerpts (emphases mine):
RUBIO: I think we also have to look at the rhetoric coming from the front-runner in the presidential campaign. This is a man who in rallies has told his supporters to basically beat up the people who are in the crowd and he will pay their legal fees. Someone who has basically encouraged people in the audience to rough up anyone who stands up and says something he doesn’t like. And, I think the media has to bear some responsibility. For too long those comments were ignored. Some people thought they were cute. And he’s gotten an extraordinary amount of coverage for all the stuff he says that’s outrageous. Every time Donald Trump offends someone, says something ridiculous, says something offensive, it’s wall to wall coverage and it’s only elevated him even more. So I think we all look at this and say everyone bears responsibility for what’s happening but the result is, this is this is what a culture and a society looks like when everybody says whatever the heck they want. When everyone just goes around saying “I’m just gonna speak my mind, if I’m angry it gives me the right to say or do anything I want.” Well, there are other people that are angry, too. If they speak out and say whatever they want, the result is it all breaks down. It’s called chaos. It’s called anarchy. That’s what we’re careening towards in our political process. The great thing about our republic is that we settle our differences in this country at the ballot box. Not with guns or bayonets or violence. And you wonder whether we’re headed in a different direction today where we’re no longer able or capable of having differences of opinion, but in fact now protests become a license to take violence, to take on your opponents physically. I think — forget about the election for a moment. There’s a broader issue in our political culture in this country and this is what happens when a leading presidential candidate goes around feeding into a narrative of anger and bitterness and frustration. And I think we all need to take a step back and ask ourselves, are we contributing to this? Because if this continues, I think this country will continue to be ripped apart at the seams and we will be incapable of solving any of the major issues that we have.
REPORTER: Senator, what do you think this means for the future of the Republican Party?
RUBIO: I think the question is what does it means for the future of America. Not just the Republican Party. Look, Barack Obama has used divisive language as well. I will admit he hasn’t called on people in the crowd to beat people up but he has divided Americans up among class warfare and things of this nature. I don’t say he bears any responsibility for last night. There’s real frustration in America. There are people in this country who are angry because they are working really hard and the jobs are gone. There are people in this country that are angry because they feel disenfranchised from the American dream. But the job of a leader is not to stoke that anger. The job of a leader is to address the causes of that anger and try to solve it, not try to stoke that anger so that they vote for you. This in many ways, not just Chicago, put that aside for a moment, the broader anger that now exists in the American political discourse is a direct result of the fact that words have consequences, that when you run for President of the United States or if you are President of the United States, whichever one is endeavoring to be, you can’t just take on the attitude that “I’m going to say whatever I want.” You can’t say whatever you want. It has real life consequences for people in this country, and all over the world. And we’re starting to see that bear out. You saw those images last night of peopling getting in their face, often divided up among racial lines in many cases. The police officers bleeding from the head, reminiscent of images from the 60’s. I mean, we’re going backwards here. This is a frightening, grotesque, and disturbing development in American politics.
REPORTER: What should Donald Trump’s message be to his supporters, especially these more violent ones? Should he tell them to stop?
RUBIO: A Donald Trump supporter sucker punched a man the other day at an event. Donald Trump has yet to condemn him. After the man was released from jail, he said, “next time I’ll kill him.” He still has not condemned it. And so it tells you that in many ways he doesn’t want to say anything to his supporters because he doesn’t want to turn them off, because he understands that the reason why they are voting for him is because he has tapped into this anger. The problem is leadership has never been about taking people’s anger and using it to get them to vote for you. If it is, it’s a dangerous style of leadership. Leadership is about acknowledging people’s anger, but as a leader trying to address why it is they’re angry, instead of manipulating their anger so that they become your voter, your donor and your supporter. So I think Donald Trump needs to ask when is he going to start condemning this stuff, because instead all he’s saying is these are really bad dudes at my events.