'I Love Ivanka': Florida Sen. Marco Rubio Stumbles to Questions About Possible Senate Challenge from Trump's Daughter

Rubio was asked the question amid widespread speculation about Ivanka Trump's plans to run as a presidential candidate in the 2024 US election.

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Florida Sen. Marco Rubio on Sunday stumbled against an uncomfortable question about former President Donald Trump's eldest daughter Ivanka Trump running against him in 2022. Rubio tried hard to dodge an awkward question while appearing on 'Fox News Sunday' when asked by host Chris Wallace whether he took Ivanka seriously as a potential opponent in the Republican primary in Florida.

"Well, I, I, I don't really get into the parlor games of Washington," Rubio replied, clearly wishing his potential challenger was called anything other than Trump. The interview came amid widespread speculation about Ivanka's plans to run as a presidential candidate in the 2024 US election.

Awkward Moment

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio speaks to journalists as he leaves a meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. July 13, 2017. Senate Republicans of the U.S. Congress on Thursday unveiled a new healthcare bill that they hoped can fulfill their long-time goal to "repeal and replace" the Affordable Care Act. (Xinhua/Ting Shen/IANS) IANS

Rubio has an earlier record of stumbling up awkward questions during interviews and public appearance. Sunday was a repeat of that but perhaps he had least expected that question. "How seriously do you take Ivanka Trump as a potential opponent?" 'Fox News Sunday' host Wallace asked, citing speculation over Ivanka political ambitions following her purchase of property in Miami with her husband, Jared Kushner.

"When you decide to run for re-election in a state like Florida, you have to be prepared for a competitive race, you run it like a competitive race, so that's what I'm preparing to run, a very competitive race against a tough opponent," Rubio said.

Wallace, however, continued to press on in a bid to get the stumbling Rubio, who somewhat shares a love-hate relationship with Donald Trump, to at least acknowledge the name of his possible challenger. Rubio tried to avoid naming his challenger and said, "I don't own the Senate seat, it doesn't belong to me. If I want to be back in the US Senate I have to earn that every six years."

That said, at last Rubio mentioned Ivanka and said, "I like Ivanka, and we worked very well together on issues, and she's a US..." The interview soon ended.

Readying for a Possible Challenge

Ivanka Trump

The interview with Rubio comes amid reports that Ivanka is working on a possible Senate run behind the scenes since she moved to Florida, according to Politico, citing unnamed former Trump officials.

Rubio during the interview said that he was proud of what he achieved in the past four years and would remain focused on the job until he was up for re-election. But Ivanka's name definitely has posed a challenge to him.

At the same time speculation is also rife that Rubio, a staunch ally of the former president, may be in the Trump family's bad graces for having voted to certify election results that formally placed President Joe Biden in office. That said, Rubio has always had his awkward moments every time Ivanka's name comes up or even during their meetings.

In June 2017 he was photographed trying and failing to give her a hug in Washington. The moment was so talked about that the photograph immediately went viral. Rubio was mercilessly mocked over the awkward moment before he joined in with his own tweets.

This article was first published on January 25, 2021