Trump: Rubio Is a 'Very Bad Representative' of Floridians - NBC Bay Area
Decision 2016

Decision 2016

Full coverage of the race for the White House

Trump: Rubio Is a 'Very Bad Representative' of Floridians

Early voting is underway in the Sunshine State for the March 15 primary.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Donald Trump Interview with NBC 6 South Florida

    NBC 6 anchors Eric Harryman and Sheli Muniz speak to GOP frontrunner Donald Trump who joined us live from West Palm Beach. (Published Tuesday, March 8, 2016)

    GOP frontrunner Donald Trump accused Florida Sen. Marco Rubio of having the "worst voting record in many many years," ramping up his attacks against his Republican rival in an interview with NBC 6 South Florida.

    "He's a very bad representative of the people of Florida," Trump said Tuesday from West Palm Beach. "He never shows up to vote."

    Of the 302 votes cast between March 9, 2015, and March 7, 2016, Rubio has missed 125, or 41 percent. In the previous year, Rubio missed 55 of 374 votes tallied, or 15 percent, The Associated Press reports, stating that Rubio is not as delinquent as Trump claims.

    The report also notes that then-Illinois Sen. Barack Obama skipped 45 percent of Senate votes during the same stretch on his way to the Democratic nod and eventually the presidency. Sen. John McCain skipped 62 percent of votes over a year-long period when he ran for the GOP nomination in 2008.

    According to a Monmouth University poll issued Monday, Rubio is closing in but remains eight points behind Trump in Florida ahead of next week's key primary in Rubio's home state.

    So far, Rubio has only two wins in 20 elections, and is now facing attack ads by the Trump campaign after having vowed to win at home.

    Trump, who owns multiple properties in Florida including the Trump National Doral, described the state as his second home.

    "I understand Florida very well," he said. "I'm going to do a great job for the people of Florida, that I can tell you."

    Early voting is already underway in the Sunshine State for the March 15 primary.

    As voters in Michigan, Mississippi, Idaho and Hawaii head to the polls Tuesday, Trump believes things are shaping up to be a "two-man race" between him and Ted Cruz.

    Trump also touched on restoring relations with Cuba in his interview with NBC 6 South Florida. While Rubio has remained adamantly against the thawing of relations, Trump says it's a plan he's open to, but that the current deal is not one he would support.

    "I think it's time. We're living in the modern age and now it's time to do something," Trump said.

    He added, "I would like to see a better deal than Obama is making."

    Trump also called Obamacare a "total disaster, total failure" and vowed to repeal both that and Common Core if elected.

    He also noted the importance of securing the nation's borders, likening them to "Swiss cheese."

    In a live phone interview with "Today," Trump also addressed criticism of his request for supporters to raise their hands and pledge their allegiance to vote for him. Some have likened the incidents to imagery of Nazi rallies.

    "Honestly, until this phone call, I didn't realize it was a problem," Trump said. "If it's offensive, if there's anything wrong with it, I wouldn't do it," he added.

    Trump insisted that his supporters were having a good time, and dismissed any comparisons of his campaign pledge to a Nazi salute as "ridiculous."

    Trump's schedule Tuesday includes a press conference at the Trump National Gold Club in Jupiter at 9 p.m. EST.

    On Thursday, all of the Republican candidates will take part in a debate at the University of Miami which will air on CNN.

    Tuesday's first polls close in Mississippi at 8 p.m. EST, with primary results for both parties. Michigan's primary results for both parties follow at 9.

    Idaho's Republican-only primary closes at 11 p.m., and Hawaii's GOP caucuses close at 1 a.m.

    In all, there are 150 GOP delegates at stake, and 179 Democratic delegates to be doled out from Tuesday's contests.