Marco Rubio slammed for reports he’ll skip CPAC

By WND Staff

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.

The American Conservative Union is slamming GOP presidential contender Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., for making a “rookie mistake” by allegedly snubbing the upcoming Conservative Political Action Conference, which will be March 2-5.

According to an ACU statement provided to Matthew Boyle at Breitbart: “Today the Rubio campaign informed ACU’s chairman that their candidate is unwilling to make time to meet with activists and answer their questions at CPAC 2016. Sen. Rubio cannot have it both ways: he cannot hope to be the inspirational leader of conservatives and at the same time hide at the very moment when activists who comprise the heart and soul of the movement assemble and organize.”

As John Kasich has confirmed he will be speaking at CPAC, Rubio is the only active Republican candidate who has not yet confirmed he is attending the conference.

The Rubio campaign has pushed back against the claims.

The senator’s campaign provided emails to the center-right website, which showed the exchange between ACU chairman Matt Schlapp and the Rubio campaign.

According to the emails, Schlapp told the campaign he had to “fish or cut bait,” meaning the Rubio campaign needed to commit to a set time this close to the conference.

The Rubio campaign stated: “We want to do it but can’t commit to a specific date or time at this point. If they have to take that as a no answer, we understand. But it’s not our intent.”


But as Schapp warned the Rubio campaign, there’s “no good spin.”

Rubio supporters argued the campaign was not refusing to attend, merely saying they could not commit yet. However, others noted the mention of the “no answer” in the email as confirmation Rubio was refusing to make time for conservative activists.

Matthew Boyle sarcastically thanked RedState for helping to “confirm our reporting.”

ACU Chairman Matt Schlapp observed Rubio recently “ducked out” of the Conservative Review’s event in South Carolina.

He stated on talk radio, “Combining that with this decision to not attend CPAC is curious to me because he has a mostly conservative record, he’s an inspirational candidate, why he would bypass the chance to mingle with conservatives unless, the theory is, they really want to [have Rubio] be the establishment candidate who’s less associated with grassroots conservatives.”

That’s precisely what legendary conservative activist and author Phyllis Schlafly argues is taking place.

“It’s beginning to look like Rubio is the establishment guy,” she told WND. “It seems like Rubio wants to be a conservative sometimes and not other times. Other candidates have made time to go to CPAC. And I think there has been a pattern for people who are really serious about advancing in the Republican Party to go to CPAC and be seen there and socialize with the people who come. I think it’s a mistake to pass it up for no good reason.”

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Schlafly sees Rubio’s reluctance to attend CPAC as part of a pattern.

“Rubio is a guy who has played both sides in this equation for some time,” she said.

She recalled how she was one of the first people to have supported him when he first ran for office, only to watch in dismay as Rubio quickly moved to ally with Democrats and attempt to pass amnesty for illegal immigrants.

“He didn’t turn out to be a conservative, and he joined the Gang of Eight,” she charged. “I guess he’s been, well, he’d probably call it ‘flexible,’ but he’s definitely changed his mind back and forth. He appears to be playing the establishment’s game now.”

Rubio has received a surge of establishment support following Jeb Bush’s departure from the Republican race after Trump’s victory in South Carolina. In recent days, former GOP nominee Bob Dole, North Carolina Sen. Thom Tills, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, and Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson have all come out for Rubio.

However, as Schlafly observed, backing by the establishment didn’t do much to help Jeb Bush’s campaign.

Schlafly, who is also a WND columnist, has criticized Rubio recently for his “betrayal” of the conservative activists who first supported him.

Schlafly’s Eagle Forum organization has also released a report detailing what it calls Rubio’s “big con” when it comes to deceiving conservatives over his record on immigration.

“I think the establishment could be very happy with Rubio,” said Schlafly. “I think the kingmakers will be happy with Rubio because he’s flexible. You have to be for amnesty to get the support of the establishment, and if that’s what he’s playing for today, then he’ll be for amnesty.”

“The conservatives today don’t trust anybody,” Schlafly laughed. “That’s why they are falling in line for Trump. They think at least he tells it the way he sees it and that’s it. I think Rubio has disappointed conservatives significantly with his efforts for amnesty, and that’s a definite hurt.”

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