Rubio exits white house race after Florida loss

Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., speaks during a Republican primary night celebration rally at Florida International University in Miami, Fla. (AP)

Republican Marco Rubio, the US senator from Florida, dropped out of the race for the White House on Tuesday after suffering a bruising loss to frontrunner Donald Trump in his home state.

Rubio’s demise in the presidential campaign leaves arch-conservative Ted Cruz and Ohio Governor John Kasich as the two men left fighting what appears to be an increasingly forlorn battle against Trump.

“While it is not God’s plan that I be president in 2016 or maybe ever, and while today my campaign is suspended, the fact that I’ve even come this far is evidence of how special America truly is,” Rubio told cheering supporters in Florida who chanted his name.

Rubio’s exit, the culmination of a series of early voting setbacks, comes as a heavy blow to the Republican establishment, which had hoped the fresh-faced senator might wrestle the nomination from Trump while also keeping Cruz on the sidelines.

The 44-year-old Cuban-American, who until now had enjoyed a meteoric political rise, added: “This is a right way forward, but after tonight, it is clear that while we are on the right side, this year we will not be on the winning side.”

And he appeared to take direct aim at the bombastic Trump, adding: “From a political standpoint, the easiest thing to have done in this campaign is to jump on all that anxiety...

“To make people angrier. Make people more frustrated. But I chose a different route and I’m proud of that. Because that would have been, in a year like this, that would have been the easiest way to win, but that is not what’s best for America,” Rubio continued.

“The politics of resentment against other people will not just leave us a fractured party, they’re going to leave us a fractured nation.

“They’re going to leave us as a nation where people literally hate each other because they have different political opinions.”

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:50 - GMT 06:50