Rubio still not going to GOP Convention; sticking with video appearance

by | Jul 17, 2016

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) is sticking with his previously announced plans to skip the Republican Convention, despite media reports to the contrary, The Capitolist has learned.

Earlier this month, Rubio had announced that he would not attend the convention in Cleveland, Ohio, saying that he would stay in Florida to campaign before the August 30th primary.

Rubio’s staff said that the Senator would send a video message instead. His planned absence was notable, especially in light of the growing list of other prominent Republicans — including former Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, and former GOP nominees Mitt Romney and Sen. John McCain — who were skipping this year’s convention over their objections to presumptive nominee Donald Trump.

Then, on Sunday afternoon, the RNC’s Committee on Arrangements sent out an email announcing the convention program and included Rubio on the list of speakers. As the Dallas Morning News reported:

Donald Trump has cleared room in prime time for more of his vanquished rivals at the GOP convention, adding Florida Sen. Marco Rubio to Wednesday night’s lineup, which also features Texas Sen. Ted Cruz…


Until Sunday’s announcement, Rubio had been expected to shun the convention, though Cruz met with Trump two weeks ago and accepted an invitation to speak. Neither has paid the expected price of that spotlight by offering an explicit endorsement.

This is incorrect.

The Capitolist confirmed with Rubio spokesman Alex Conant and another senior staffer in his Senate office that he will not be speaking at the Republican Convention and is sticking with his previously announced plan to send a video message.

Conant further confirmed that Rubio will not be traveling to Cleveland.

This confusion over the Convention schedule follows just days after the Trump campaign had announced that former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow would speak, but then Tebow posted a video message dismissing the news as “rumors” and clarifiying he had made no plans to appear in Cleveland.

UPDATE: Rubio spokeswoman Olivia Perez-Cubas confirmed to The Capitolist that the travel schedule the campaign had distributed on July 14th was still accurate, and provided additional details for Monday’s plans.

According to an email from Rubio’s Senate office, on Monday, Rubio will start the morning in Fort Myers to meet with local officials “to discuss the Lake Okeechobee releases and their effects on the Caloosahatchee River,” followed by a roundtable in Stuart with researchers and local officials regarding the Indian River Lagoon. There will be media availabilities after both events.

Rubio will then travel to Orlando on Tuesday, Pensacola and Fort Walton on Wednesday, Panama City and Lakeland on Thursday, Tampa on Friday, and Jacksonville on Saturday.

This post has been updated.

Follow Sarah Rumpf on Twitter: @rumpfshaker.

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