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:
Make no mistake, @MarcoRubio will continue to be a powerful voice for the future of our Republican party. -John— John Kasich (@JohnKasich) March 16, 2016
.@MarcoRubio ran a spirited campaign for Prez. He focused on national security & appealed to our better nature. He has a lot to be proud of.— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) March 16, 2016
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:
I am proud to have supported @marcorubio &proud to call him a friend. He will continue to be a leading conservative voice for years to come.— Tim Scott (@votetimscott) March 16, 2016
Neither of the Democratic candidates -- Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders – mentioned Rubio in their remarks or on social media on Tuesday night.