- Thomson Reuters
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio said Monday that he was thinking about his “service to country” in the wake of the deadly Orlando terror attack, but declined to speculate on whether it would change his decision not to seek reelection.
The Republican senator and former presidential candidate told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt the attack that claimed the lives of 49 victims has “impacted” his thinking “about a lot of things.”
“I haven’t even given it thought in that perspective other than to say that I’ve been deeply impacted by it, and I think when it visits your home state, and it impacts a community you know well, it really gives you pause to think a little bit about, you know, your service to your country and where you can be most useful to your country,” Rubio said.
“We live in a very dramatic moment in our history. I think we’re at a tipping point here moving into the next election,” he continued. “So you know, obviously I haven’t thought about it from a political perspective, but it most certainly has impacted my thinking in general about a lot of things.”
Hewitt pressed Rubio, asking if he would “at least consider” running for reelection again.
“Well, obviously I have a couple of things in play,” Rubio said. “It’s not part of our plan as a family. And certainly wasn’t part of, I have a friend of mine who is running for the US Senate. So I want to be fair, Hugh. I haven’t thought about it in that context. I really don’t want to link the two things right now, because I don’t want politics to intrude in all of this.”
“I understand, but there are people who know this issue,” Hewitt said. “You are one of them.”
“Well, as I said, my family and I will be praying about all this, and we’ll see what I need to do next with my life in regards to how I can best serve,” Rubio replied.
The communications director for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Sadie Weiner, knocked Rubio for his comments.
“It’s disappointing that Senator Rubio would use this tragedy to raise speculation about his political future, and if he reconsiders anything this week it should be his vote to leave open the terrorist gun loophole and let suspected terrorists continue to have access to guns,” Weiner said in a statement to Business Insider.
Since dropping out of the 2016 race for the White House, Rubio has been under increasing pressure to seek reelection to his Senate seat. Donald Trump, who relentlessly mocked him on the campaign trail, even posted a tweet urging him to reconsider a run.
This story was updated at 3:52 p.m. ET to include comment from the DSCC.