CNN anchor Jake Tapper late Tuesday asked Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioOvernight Defense: Tillerson, Trump deny report of rift | Tillerson says he never considered resigning | Trump expresses 'total confidence' in secretary | Rubio asks Army to kick out West Point grad Rubio asks Army to kick out West Point grad with pro-communist posts GOP establishment doubts Bannon’s primary powers MORE if he was in denial about his standing in the Republican presidential race.

“You’re talking about Virginia, and that’s another state [Republican presidential front-runner] Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpIvanka Trump pens op-ed on kindergartners learning tech Bharara, Yates tamp down expectations Mueller will bring criminal charges Overnight Cybersecurity: Equifax security employee left after breach | Lawmakers float bill to reform warrantless surveillance | Intel leaders keeping collusion probe open MORE won,” Tapper said during an interview with the Florida senator as Super Tuesday results rolled in. "I just wonder if there’s a certain amount of denial you’re in about this race."

ADVERTISEMENT
The tough questioning occurred before Rubio won Minnesota’s caucuses, his sole victory on Super Tuesday and in the presidential race so far.

Rubio said he remains focused on the contests following Super Tuesday, including his home state of Florida, which will hold a winner-take-all primary on March 15.

“We’re in the winner-take-all phase of this,” he said. "You know this is about the delegate count. This is not a traditional race.”

Rubio said the establishment Republican opposition to Trump still gives him a path to becoming the party’s standard-bearer.

“Usually in a race like this, you’d have a front-runner and people would be saying, ‘You need to drop out and rally around the front-runner for the sake of the party.' They’re saying the opposite now. There will never come a time in this race where our supporters are asking us to get out and rally around Donald Trump.

“What people are saying is, ‘Fight as hard as you can to save the party of [former Presidents] Lincoln and Reagan from a con artist who refuses to criticize the [Ku Klux Klan],” he added.

“If we nominate Donald Trump as our nominee for the Republican Party, it will be the end of the modern Republican Party. Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonChris Murphy’s profile rises with gun tragedies DNC, RNC step up cyber protections Gun proposal picks up GOP support MORE will smoke him in a general election.”

Trump won seven out of 11 voting contests on Super Tuesday, well ahead of the three for Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzWhatever you think the Alabama special election means, you’re probably wrong This week: Congress gets ball rolling on tax reform Week ahead: Senators work toward deal to fix ObamaCare markets MORE (R-Texas) and the one for Rubio.

Rubio argued during a separate interview on Fox News Tuesday evening that Cruz was the night’s true loser, charging that he underperformed in Southern states seemingly fit for his campaign.