Marco Rubio in Jupiter: He praises Trump, DeSantis, but no mention of Hialeah attack

Stephany Matat
Palm Beach Post

JUPITER — U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio praised former President Donald Trump and Gov. Ron DeSantis at a campaign stop in Jupiter on Thursday amid renewed speculation of friction between Trump and DeSantis.

Rubio noted at the start of his speech that he would be rallying alongside the ex-president next week in Miami. Then, after calling for more oversight of the FBI, he vowed to take down the “ridiculous Jan. 6 commission” that has probed the former president and others in the violence at the U.S. Capitol in early 2021.

“We have to have hearings and oversight over the FBI ... and how it's being politicized,” Rubio said.

Florida’s senior senator also again defended DeSantis's decision to send close to 50 immigrants from Texas to Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts last month.

More:5 takeaways from a day when Trump, DeSantis, Rubio and Scott descended on South Florida

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”No, I do not believe that flying 48 people to Massachusetts is going to solve (the) problem, but I do think it’s very revealing,” he said, adding that “no other country would allow” such a large amount of immigrants to illegally enter.

No mention of possible rift between Trump, DeSantis

Rubio did not mention ongoing talk of a rift between Trump and DeSantis even though the latest flashpoint appears to be a Nov. 6 rally — two days before the election — at the Miami-Dade County Fair and Exposition.

The announcement about the rally lists Rubio but doesn't mention Florida's governor. Trump and DeSantis have not appeared together or mentioned each other to any great length after enjoying an extremely close relationship while Trump was in the White House.

Senator Marco Rubio speaks into a microphone during an event for his re-election campaign held at the Sims House on Thursday, October 27, 2022, in Jupiter, FL.

Asked about DeSantis on Thursday while playing the pro-am LIV tournament at his Doral resort and golf club, Trump only stoked more speculation.

"He’s a nice man," the former president said of DeSantis. "I don’t want to say anything that’s going to get me in trouble." 

In the Oct. 24 gubernatorial debate in Fort Pierce, DeSantis remained stone-faced and non-committal when Democratic challenger Charlie Crist pressed him to say he would serve a full second term as governor, rather than seek the 2024 GOP presidential nomination — presumably against Trump.

That drew a testy retort from Trump confidant Roger Stone. While saying it was DeSantis' "prerogative" to decide his next step, Stone said he would "urge" DeSantis to "remember that he owes his nomination and election (as governor in 2018) to President Trump, who endorsed him in the primary and then dragged him across the finish line in the general election."

On Friday, Trump posted a video of news personality Megyn Kelly saying she doesn't think DeSantis could "overcome" Trump in primary battle. Trump circulated the video clip on his Truth Social account saying "I AGREE!"

Steve Avila, Royal Palm Beach, poses for a picture while holding a sign that reads in Spanish "Together with Rubio" during an event for Senator Marco Rubio's re-election campaign held at the Sims House on Thursday, October 27, 2022, in Jupiter, FL.

In his speech in Jupiter, Rubio sounded familiar themes, such as the squeeze people are feeling from rising prices, and called for a vigorous get-out-the-vote effort.

“You know how people in politics suddenly decide to change their views or how they're going to perceive certain issues or what issues to focus on? It’s because voters speak,” said Rubio, seeking a third term on Capitol Hill in the Nov. 8 election.

He did not mention an incident that has been at the center of the senator's attention all week: the violent attack on a GOP campaign worker in Hialeah.

Rubio broke the news in a tweet Monday night in which he wrote that "one of our canvassers wearing my T-shirt and a Desantis hat was brutally attacked by 4 animals who told him Republicans weren’t allowed in their neighborhood," and attached photos of the injured man.

A Marco Rubio supporter is seen holding a campaign sign during an event for Senator Marco Rubio's re-election campaign held at the Sims House on Thursday, October 27, 2022, in Jupiter, FL.

He later tweeted police statements, including the arrest report, and photos of the alleged assailant. 

Attacked canvasser was known as 'Cuban Confederate' white supremacist; Rubio says victim regrets his past views

Media reports then surfaced saying the victim was a white supremacist who was known as the "Cuban Confederate" and had been at the 2017 neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville. Rubio initially ripped the media reports, saying they were "smearing the GOP canvasser who was brutally attacked."

Rubio had not mentioned the victim's past until Friday, when he alluded to them in another tweet, saying those were "past views he has rejected & now regrets."

Sen. Marco Rubio greets a crowd gathered for his re-election campaign event Thursday at the Sims House in Jupiter.

Palm Beach County Republican Party Chair Michael Barnett introduced the senator by highlighting his relationship with the Hispanic communities in South Florida, while Jupiter Mayor Jim Kuretski highlighted his record of supporting environmental efforts in Florida and his support of law enforcement.

“I think he’s earned a third term. I think he’s done an amazing job, not just for our county but for our country,” Barnett said.

Stephany Matat is a politics reporter at the Palm Beach Post, part of the USA TODAY Florida Network. You can reach her at smatat@pbpost.comHelp support our journalism. Subscribe today.