By Jim DeFede

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – During an interview with CBS Miami, Florida Senator Marco Rubio acknowledged Donald Trump bears “some level of responsibility” for inciting the crowd leading up to the January 6 Capitol riot, but Rubio also argued it was an isolated incident because in the four years since Trump was elected, “the President spoke on almost a daily basis and there weren’t daily riots.”

Rubio also said he hasn’t spoken to the former President since November but expects to talk to him soon. Rubio is running for re-election in 2022.

READ MORE: Florida School District Defies Gov. Ron DeSantis' Ban On Masks

“I haven’t spoken to him since all those things have happened,” he said. “But I usually don’t call him unless I have something to bring up or talk about at that moment. And obviously, a lot’s gone on since the end of the election till now. But I’m sure I will [speak to him] at some point here fairly soon.”

Asked if he envisions making a pilgrimage to Mar-a-Lago as so many other Republicans have been doing in recent weeks, Rubio said: “Well, it wouldn’t be a pilgrimage for me. I mean, it’s in Florida. So it would be a visit to someone who lives in our state, as I do people all the time. So I don’t consider it a pilgrimage. I don’t believe I’ve ever been to Mar-a-Lago at any point, but that may very well come a day where I’ll visit there. For me, it’s just a short ride up I-95.”

Regarding the January 6 attack, Rubio said he disagreed with Senator Mitch McConnel, who said, “There is no question that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of that day.”

“I think that goes beyond what I would say and what I have said,” Rubio said. “Look, this is a hot political moment. People are passionate, but I think that’s true across the board. And I think we are in very dangerous territory. If we start saying that every time someone is out there and uses heated political rhetoric, you are now responsible for what every individual in that crowd goes often does as a result of it.”

Nevertheless, in 2016, Rubio warned of Donald Trump’s rhetoric and predicted the type of chaos the country saw following the election and culminating in the insurrection at the Capitol that left at least five people dead.

Interview with Florida Senator Marco Rubio:

READ MORE: State Senator Gary Farmer Says Governor’s Executive Order Preventing School Mask Mandates Is Unconstitutional

 

Among Rubio’s comments in 2016: “This notion that a President can just say anything they want, or even a Presidential candidate could say anything they want, whatever comes to mind, it’s just not true and it’s reckless and it’s dangerous.”

Also in 2016, in discussing the violence that occurred at so many Trump events, Rubio said: “This is what happens when a leading presidential candidate goes around feeding into a narrative of anger and bitterness and frustration… I think the question is what this means for the future of America, not just the Republican Party.”

And, when he dropped out of the Presidential race in 2016, Rubio said: “But you mark my words. There will be prominent people in American politics who will spend years explaining to people how they fell into this.”

Asked about those quotes, Rubio said: “Well, Jim, I would say this to you. Number one is if you look over the last four years, the president spoke on almost a daily basis and there weren’t daily riots. In fact, there’s one instance that we now have of this sort of unrest. And it was just a day in time that obviously had a lot of factors.”

“I continue to believe that a president’s words have an impact,” he continued. “And I’ve already said to you I think he bears some level of responsibility for what happened that day and the things leading up to that day. But by the same token, I’m not going to ignore that there are elements involved in our society that go beyond simply Donald Trump.”

“We have fundamental things going on within our society that made Donald Trump possible, that made the things I was talking about on that day possible. Donald Trump did not create these factors. He’s a product of a lot of the things that were already in our country and these deep divisions that frankly, both sides have.”

MORE NEWS: President Biden Criticizes Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis

You can see the interview with Marco Rubio Sunday, February 28, at 11:30 a.m., and later that day on CBSMiami.com.

Jim DeFede