By Jesse Byrnes
Rubio hits Trump, Cruz over debate 'theatrics'
Marco RubioMarco RubioRubio: 'I didn't run for the Senate to run for president again' Sunday shows preview: Next steps after Trump upheaval O'Malley gives Trump a nickname: 'Chicken Donald' MORE on Wednesday slammed Republican presidential rivals Donald TrumpDonald TrumpTrump's proposed ban on Muslims entering US a moving target Clinton camp blasts Trump over Brexit response: 'He patted himself on the back' Trump shifts immigration plan: No 'mass deportations' MORE and Ted CruzTed CruzO'Malley gives Trump a nickname: 'Chicken Donald' Va. GOP delegate files lawsuit over bound convention votes Our most toxic export: American politick MORE for fighting each other instead of Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.
"These kinds [of] theatrics by Ted Cruz and Donald Trump are an entertaining sideshow, but they have nothing to do with defeating Hillary Clinton," Rubio said in a statement.
"I'm going to stay focused on uniting the Republican party so we can defeat Hillary Clinton and turn the page on eight years of liberal failure," Rubio added.
The Florida senator was calling out Trump and Cruz, who are favorites to win in the Iowa caucuses on Monday, for duking it out over Trump's plan to skip the GOP debate this week.
Cruz has argued Trump is afraid of his record and challenged him to a one-on-one debate after the real estate tycoon's campaign said he plans to headline a competing event Thursday night.
Trump has claimed unfair treatment from Fox News, which is hosting the debate, and has gone after star host Megyn Kelly — a co-moderator for the debate — as a "lightweight."
"We don't have time for these kinds of distractions," Rubio said Wednesday morning, noting that "people are right to be angry" with the Obama administration and want a GOP president.
Rubio acknowledged that "these debates are so important" but bashed Trump and Cruz for knocking each other instead of Clinton.