Sen. Marco Rubio reacted with indignation on Wednesday to comments by former Florida Gov. Chralie Crist, who earlier this week explained his decision to switch parties from Republican to Democrat was fueled in part by racism within the GOP.
“I think it’s ridiculous and silly,” Rubio told Fox News host Neil Cavuto. “First of all, I’m even cautious to even dignify that with a serious response. My prediction is by the end of this election, even Democrats will be embarrassed that Charlie Crist became a Democrat.”
Crist had explained to Fusion’s Jorge Ramos on Tuesday why he left the Republican party and why he was now running for his old office as a Democrat.
“I couldn’t be consistent with myself and my core beliefs, and stay with a party that was so unfriendly toward the African-American president, I’ll just go there,” Crist said. “I was a Republican and I saw the activists and what they were doing, it was intolerable to me.”
During his appearance Wednesday on Fox, Rubio, who beat Crist in the 2010 U.S. Senate race, was asked what he thought of Crist’s comments.
“If this was in fact how he felt at the time, why didn’t he say it? Why didn’t he say, I’m not running as a Republican because I think the Republican Party has become what he accuses it of becoming?” Rubio said. “And why did he switch to Democrat? Why didn’t he run as an independent?”
The senator then said he has never witnessed any racism among his supporters.
“I’ve never met a single Republican activist involved in my campaign that has ever in my opinion ever been motivated by race to state their objections. I think it’s absurd and quite frankly it’s barely worthy of any sort of response. But because he’s running for governor of my state, I guess I need to say what I said,” Rubio said.
Cavuto then asked if Crist was a “phony.”
“Absolutely,” Rubio responded. “I believe that during the campaign. That’s one of the reasons why I ran for the U.S. Senate. I didn’t want my next U.S. senator to be someone like that who wouldn’t just be trustworthy in moments of importance for the country but who would embarrass us by saying these sorts of ridiculous things.”