Marco Rubio is agreeing to appear with Republican vice-presidential nominee Mike Pence, even as the Florida senator and former presidential candidate keeps his distance from Donald Trump.
ABC News reports that, after several phone conversations, Pence and Rubio could begin campaigning in Florida within the next few weeks. After ending his presidential bid, Rubio is currently seeking re-election to the U.S. Senate.
A statement from the Rubio campaign says that although “Marco has tremendous respect and admiration for Gov. Pence,” no joint events are “scheduled at this time.”
Rubio’s agreement with Pence is seen as the latest move by Republicans to attempt to improve relations with the party’s presidential nominee. Pence recently met with both John McCain and Jeb Bush privately, and had contacted former presidential candidates John Kasich and Ted Cruz.
During the Republican primary, Trump and Rubio clashed on several occasions, most notably when Trump called the senator “Little Marco” and Rubio responding by mocking the New York billionaire’s “small hands.”
However, after solidly losing the Florida primary to Trump, Rubio said he would continue to back the Republican nominee, but later saying he doubted Trump could be trusted with the nuclear codes. Rubio refused to back down from his earlier comments, saying Trump was a “con man.”
“I’ve stood by everything I ever said in my campaign,” Rubio told the Miami Herald.
If re-elected to the Senate, Rubio said he could help keep Trump in check.
Rubio also told reporters he would not be making personal appearances with Trump.
“Not that I’m looking to undermine him,” Rubio said in an interview with CNN in June. “But I think the differences between us on key issues are so significant that I don’t plan …. I’ve got to run my own race.”
According to the latest NBC/WSJ/Marist poll, Democrat Hillary Clinton leads Trump in Florida 44 to 39 percent.