That Republican Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera has agreed to withdraw from the race for Florida’s U.S. Senate seat if Marco Rubio decides to run for re-election to it is as surprising to see as it was to watch Al Cowlings chauffeur O.J. Simpson in a white Bronco. Some men are just born to be second banana.
Yet the setting for the conversation between the two men where Lopez-Cantera offered to step aside is beyond cringeworthy.
As Politico’s Marco Caputo reported Wednesday, Lopez-Cantera and Rubio had their heart-to-heart “in the senator’s pickup truck about an hour before sunset, after witnessing the aftermath of the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.”
“This is bigger than me. And this isn’t about me. And it’s not about you. It’s about our country and this election,” Lopez-Cantera said to Rubio, recounting the conversation for Politico. “It’s deeply consequential. … In the current field, I’m the best candidate in the general election. But I’m not looking at this through rose-colored glasses.”
Putting aside the question of who talks like that — “It’s deeply consequential” — to a close friend and the ridiculousness of Lopez-Cantera’s assertion that “I’m the best candidate in the general election,” how atrocious is it that the lieutenant governor of the state of Florida thought the most appropriate time to discuss the 2016 campaign was after just visiting the site of the deadliest mass shooting in the history of this country?
Law enforcement was still securing the crime scene. Trauma surgeons were still operating on a score of victims. An entire community and state were reeling.
And that’s when Lopez-Cantera thought it would be appropriate to say to Rubio, “Mind if I sit in your pick-up truck and talk to you about politics?”
Could CLC not have given it a day and scheduled a face-to-face with Rubio after they had left Orlando? It’s not as if Lopez-Cantera has a busy schedule.
Again, there was no doubt in anyone’s mind that Lopez-Cantera would scoot over if Rubio wants to pass him.
But you don’t ask out a widow at her husband’s funeral.
You don’t ask to see the will while standing at someone’s deathbed.
And real leaders don’t talk campaigns and elections before driving away from the site of a mass shooting.