What Marco Rubio’s Former Rivals Are Saying About His 2016 Exit

PHOTO: Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio speaks during a Republican primary night celebration rally at Florida International University in Miami, Fla., on March 15, 2016.PlayPaul Sancya/AP Photo
WATCH Highlights From Marco Rubio's Concession Speech

After a decisive defeat on his home turf of Florida at the hands of Donald Trump, Marco Rubio suspended his bid for the Republican nomination on Tuesday night.

In the aftermath of the announcement, some of the Florida senator’s one-time rivals have weighed in on the first-term senator’s 11-month campaign. Perhaps most surprisingly, Donald Trump, who once referred to Rubio by such nicknames as “Little Marco” and “choke artist,” congratulated Rubio during his victory speech.

“I want to congratulate Marco Rubio on having run a really tough campaign,” Trump told a crowd of supporters. “He’s tough, he’s smart, and he’s got a great future.”

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, once considered among Rubio’s chief rivals, took to Twitter to say that the Florida senator was the realization of the American dream:

And Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who managed to avoid the same fate as Rubio and stave off a Trump victory in his home state of Ohio, asserted Rubio’s importance within the Republican Party:

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, another former contender who, upon suspending his own campaign, endorsed one-time candidate Jeb Bush, praised Rubio’s focus on matters of national security:

One of Rubio’s former supporters also took to Twitter to express their disappointment that his White House bid had come to a close. Tim Scott, a South Carolina senator whose endorsement of Rubio many believe may have contributed to his strong second-place finish in the state’s primary, tweeted that he stands by his choice:

Neither of the Democratic candidates -- Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders – mentioned Rubio in their remarks or on social media on Tuesday night.