- REUTERS/Mary Schwalm
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida) is slightly turning up the heat on presidential rival Donald Trump over the Republican front-runner’s controversial illegal-immigration statements.
In an interview that aired Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Rubio said that the way Trump speaks about immigration is “absurd,” and questioned whether the real-estate mogul actually believes his own rhetoric.
“His rhetoric is a little louder, but if you think about his position on immigration six months ago, his position on immigration six months ago is nothing like his position on immigration now. Even what he’s saying now borders on the absurd,” Rubio said.
“It’s just Donald being Donald,” he added to dismiss Trump’s position.
Among other things, Trump has called for the deportation of every single person who came into the US illegally, saying he would let the “wonderful cases” back into the country. Trump has also called for a massive wall – he suggested this weekend that it could be 40- or 50- feet high – and for Mexico to pay for it.
As Rubio has continued to rise in the polls, Trump has amped up his own attacks on the Florida senator’s immigration position.
Last month, Trump went after Rubio on Twitter, saying that Rubio is “very weak” on immigration and pointing out the senator’s poor attendance record in Congress.
.@MarcoRubio is weak on illegal immigration and will allow anyone into the country…..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 25, 2015
Marco Rubio is a member of the Gang Of Eight or, very weak on stopping illegal immigration. Only changed when poll numbers crashed.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 26, 2015
Rubio has faced tough questions about his seemingly shifting position on immigration.
Despite his support for a 2013 immigration reform bill that stalled in Congress, Rubio now says that an immigration plan needs to include tougher border-security measures not included in the original bill.
Explaining the change in Rubio’s policy, campaign spokesman Alex Conant told Business Insider that it was now clear that without more border-security measures, there was no way that an immigration bill could make it through Congress.
“The all-or-nothing approach will continue to leave immigration-reform advocates with nothing,” Conant said. “The only way to fix our broken immigration system is to first secure our borders.”