Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioApple under pressure to unlock Pensacola shooter's phones Senators offer bill to create alternatives to Huawei in 5G tech Surging Sanders draws fresh scrutiny ahead of debate MORE (R-Fla.) said Wednesday that the fact that three of the four top Republican presidential candidates are minorities shows the party’s diversity and strength.


The remark came during an interview on ABC's "Good Morning America" when host George Stephanopoulos brought up the similarities between Rubio and Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzWhat to watch for on Day 2 of Senate impeachment trial Senate Republicans muscle through rules for Trump trial Cruz: White House not expected to push motion to dismiss impeachment articles MORE (R-Texas).

Stephanopoulos noted that the two rivals for the GOP presidential nomination are both 44 years old, of Cuban descent, are in their first terms in the Senate, and have had Tea Party support.

"I like that. Ted is a friend of mine," Rubio said.

"I think it's interesting that the four top candidates in that field, three of them, of the four, come from minority backgrounds, which speaks a lot to the diversity of the Republican Party and the strength of our party," added Rubio, whose parents immigrated from Cuba.

Another top Republican presidential candidate is Ben Carson, a retired neurosurgeon who is African-American. Carson is neck and neck in polls with Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpRouhani says Iran will never seek nuclear weapons Trump downplays seriousness of injuries in Iran attack after US soldiers treated for concussions Trump says Bloomberg is 'wasting his money' on 2020 campaign MORE.

Republicans have sought in recent years to broaden their appeal among minorities, a major focus of the "autopsy report" released by the party following its second loss to Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaObama marks MLK Day by honoring King for his 'poetic brilliance' and 'moral clarity' Biden breaks away from 2020 pack in South Carolina National Archives says it altered Trump signs, other messages in Women's March photo MORE in 2012.

The issue has roiled Republicans this year, with Trump, who has been atop the polls since early summer, focusing largely on Hispanics illegally immigrating across the southern border into the U.S.