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Rubio on Backing Trump: My Disagreements With Him Are ‘Well-Documented,’ but ‘I Signed A Pledge’ to Support the Republican Nominee


Rubio also addressed recent reports that surrogates for Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) had hoped for a Cruz-Rubio ticket.

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In his first nationally televised interview since suspending his presidential campaign, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) did not formally endorse presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump but did say that, although his criticisms of Trump are “well-documented,” he “signed a pledge” to support the eventual GOP nominee.

"I stand by what I said during the campaign," Rubio told CNN's Jake Tapper. "But I'm not going to sit here right now and become his chief critic over the next six months, because he deserves the opportunity to go forward and make his argument and try to win."

“He obviously wasn’t my first choice,” the former Republican presidential candidate added.

On Monday, Rubio released a statement saying that he would not accept an offer to become Trump’s running mate and that Trump would be “best served” by a running mate who could “fully embrace” his campaign.

Rubio reiterated the position during his interview on CNN's “The Lead.”

The senator said his disagreements with Trump are “well documented and they remain,” and when pressed on the policy differences between himself and Trump, Rubio replied, "I hope he can be persuaded away from some of those positions."

After addressing his differences with Trump on foreign policy, Tapper asked if Trump is “up to the task.”

“I hope so for the sake of our country,” Rubio answered.

Rubio also discussed recent reports that surrogates for Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) had hoped for a Cruz-Rubio ticket. According to Tapper, some Cruz surrogates believed that such a team would have defeated Trump.

Rubio called the rumors “classless” on the part of whoever spread them because “Carly Fiorina worked really hard for his campaign,” adding that he talked to Cruz the day after suspending his own campaign and Cruz did not offer him the position.

Tapper also asked Rubio about Trump’s controversial Cinco de Mayo tweet, in which he declared, “I love Hispanics!”

“After 11 months of this thing, I'm not surprised by anything that comes up on Twitter anymore," Rubio said.

As for what's next, the Florida lawmaker said he will not run for re-election, become a lobbyist or run for governor of the Sunshine State, but he will help campaign for conservatives running for the House and the Senate.

Follow Kate Scanlon (@kgscanlon) on Twitter

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