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Marco Rubio defends the GOP immigration bill. (image via Andrew Harnik/AP Photo)

Emails & Opinions

Joe Henderson: Marco Rubio says media is reason GOP won’t criticize Donald Trump


Marco Rubio tweeted Wednesday that Republicans are afraid to criticize President Trump because “it means siding with a media that never cuts him a break, turns even little things he does into an act of evil….”


I mean, Rubio is an educated man. He is a United States Senator.

And apparently, he believes the reason members of his party won’t stand up to the man who put the bully back in the pulpit is because they’re afraid of the media?

What am I missing here?

The only media they’re afraid of is @realDonaldTrump.

Republicans don’t criticize Trump because they don’t want to be the target of his Twitter attacks. Their knees shake at the notion that offering even reasoned opposition to the president’s globe-stomping antics would earn them the rebuke of hard-liners and a primary challenge.

The money tap could be turned off.

Appearing to be in step with Chuck Todd is the least of their concerns.

They have seen members of their own party mocked and humiliated by the president. They have seen him attack John McCain, for goodness sake.

Rubio should know that better than anyone, or has he forgotten the “Little Marco” face-slap that put the final nail in his presidential campaign?

Then again, Rubio has always growled like a pit bull until it’s time to show his cards and he turns into a parakeet.

The unfortunate thing about this tweet is that Rubio has been doing some good things lately. He and Democrat Bill Nelson have developed a cooperative relationship on several issues, to the benefit of Floridians.

He created some chatter in an interview with the Economist when he said workers weren’t seeing much benefit from the big Trump tax cuts, but the fat cats sure were.

“There is still a lot of thinking on the right that if big corporations are happy, they’re going to take the money they’re saving and reinvest it in American workers,” he said then. “In fact, they bought back shares, a few gave out bonuses; there’s no evidence whatsoever that the money’s been massively poured back into the American worker.”

Did that refreshing bit of honesty hurt Rubio?

Didn’t seem to.

And even if some of his trickle-down GOP pals were annoyed, it was because he strayed from the reservation. It wasn’t because Rubio was “siding with the media.”

So, it’s hard to figure what Rubio was trying to gain by this tweet.

Did the president slip in a new executive order requiring all GOP politicians to attack the press at least once a week?

But seriously folks, it’s not the media’s job to give politicians a break. The media is supposed to be cranky, ask uncomfortable questions and all that stuff.

Anyone with enough time in the public eye as Rubio has had surely knows that. I’m sure his Republican and Democratic colleagues know that too.

GOP members who might otherwise speak up against Trump aren’t afraid of siding with the media.

My guess is, they’re simply afraid.

Written By

I have a 45-year career in newspapers, including nearly 42 years at The Tampa Tribune. Florida is wacky, wonderful, unpredictable and a national force. It's a treat to have a front-row seat for it all.

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Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Jim Rosica, A.G. Gancarski, Joe Henderson, Janelle Irwin, Dan McAuliffe, Michael Moline, Jacob Ogles, Scott Powers, Bob Sparks, Andrew Wilson.
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