“A con artist is about to take over the conservative movement and the Republican Party, and we have to put a stop to it,” Rubio said on CBS’ This Morning. “He is wholly unprepared to be president of the United States.”Rubio is repeating himself and it's triggering the stereotype we have about him: a robotic repeater of sound bites. And that's a reputation that Chris Christie stuck on him, Chris Christie, who, while Rubio was flogging his "con artist" label, was out there endorsing Trump and overshadowing Rubio in the news cycle.
Rubio used the “con artist” line again on NBC’s Today. “I mean, this is unreal. Again, this guy is a con artist,” Rubio said. “He’s always making things up. No one holds him accountable for it.”
And again on ABC’s Good Morning America: “I think it’s important for people to understand they have a choice to make. Look, if this pattern continues, the conservative movement in the Republican Party will be taken over by a con artist portraying himself as the fighter of the ordinary person fighting for the working man — but he’s spent years sticking it to the working people.”
Rubio used the line again Friday while campaigning in Texas, and again later on Twitter....
But that's not what Think Progress is calling "awkward." Think Progress is calling attention to Rubio's pledge to support whoever wins the GOP nomination. How is he going to support somebody he's insulted by calling him a "con artist"?
1. Take a look at Chris Christie? Chris Christie insulted Trump plenty of times. Here's Politico's "8 times Chris Christie suggested Donald Trump shouldn't be president." Christie once said Trump was acting like "13-year-old," "someone who's just going to talk off the top of their head," not "suited to be president of the United States," someone who "has the quick and easy answer to a complicated problem," etc. All the candidates insult each other. It's part of the game, and when the game moves forward, it's time to drop the insults and switch to compliments. If you're good enough to get this far, you obviously know that.
2. "Con artist" is one of those insults that can be flipped. Remember how Trump embraced the insult "angry"? "Our country is being run by incompetent people. And I won’t be angry when we fix it, but until we fix it, I’m very, very angry." Do the same thing "con artist." If you think about it the right way, a "con artist" is just what we want. I know that sounds frightful, but I'm pre-paraphrasing what I think Trump could say and Rubio could winningly endorse.