Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s presidential campaign has officially come to an end at the hands of Donald Trump.
After a disappointing Tuesday-night loss in his home state, Rubio suspended his bid for the nomination.
“After tonight it is clear that while we are on the right side this year, we will not be on the winning side,” Rubio told his supporters.
He continued: “While this may not have been the year for a hopeful and optimistic message about our future, I still remain hopeful and optimistic about America.”
Rubio had previously said that he believed the winner of the Florida primary would be the party’s nominee.
Florida is the biggest winner-take-all state in the country with 99 delegates. Trump easily won the state’s primary on Tuesday.
In a long concession speech, Rubio took bitter shots at the tone of the Republican race. He alluded to Trump’s rise on a message of anger, saying that his was a message of optimism.
“America is in the middle of a real political storm, a real tsunami, and we should have seen this coming,” Rubio said. “People are angry and people are very frustrated. … People are very frustrated about the direction of our country.”
He cited voters’ anger with the economy and elites who condescend to conservatives.
“From a political standpoint, the easiest thing to have done in this campaign is to jump on all those anxieties I just talked about, to make people angry and make people more frustrated,” Rubio said. “But I chose a different route and I’m proud of that.”
Rubio had become the favourite of the Republican establishment, but was quickly eclipsed by Trump once primary and caucus contests started.
He tangled with Trump recently after a contentious debate, with both candidates spending days attacking each other. Trump dubbed Rubio “little Marco” and Rubio attacked Trump’s appearance. Rubio later said that he regretted those attacks because they did not reflect his character.
But Trump wasn’t Rubio’s only foil. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who rallied the party’s grassroots around his candidacy, has won several states and is the closest to Trump in the delegate count. Cruz, like Trump, is largely disliked by establishment Republicans and has run on a conservative message.