CNN anchor Jake Tapper late Tuesday asked Marco RubioMarco RubioLongtime GOP incumbent will not seek reelection Overnight Defense: Commander calls North Korea crisis 'worst' he's seen | Trump signs VA order | Dems push Trump to fill national security posts What’s with Trump’s spelling mistakes? 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 TrumpSeven key players for Trump on immigration Spicer: Media coverage of Trump has not been fair Kasich finds it hard to rule out 2020 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."
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 Rodham ClintonBiden: ‘Guys, I’m not running’ Trump says email hacking during election 'could've been China' or other groups Maxine Waters: ‘I’ve never seen anybody as disgusting or as disrespectful’ as Trump 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 CruzTed CruzKasich finds it hard to rule out 2020 Trump in campaign mode at NRA convention Trump’s hands are tied on 9th Circuit 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.