Marco Rubio, who addressed the Republican National Convention via a recorded message on Wednesday night, came closer to endorsing Donald Trump than Ted Cruz did. But the Florida senator never explicitly told people they should vote for Trump, and his praise was limited to listing conservative positions Trump has taken. Rubio, who while running against Trump for the nomination called him a "fraud," a "con artist," and "the most vulgar person ever to aspire to the presidency," said not a word about any personal qualities the nominee might possess that would qualify him for the presidency.
Rubio spoke for less than a minute and a half, and he spent the first 40 seconds trashing Hillary Clinton, culminating in a declaration that "Hillary Clinton does not have the honesty, the courage, or the independence to be the president we need for the next four years after the president we've had for the last eight." To his credit, Rubio did not claim that Donald Trump does, although the audience might have thought that was where the speech was going. Instead Rubio immediately launched into a recitation of promises Trump has made:
But unlike Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump is committed to cut taxes, curb spending, and get our national debt under control. Unlike Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump takes seriously the threats from Islamic radicals and is committed to rebuilding our military. And unlike Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, he is committed to appointing constitutionalist judges who will respect the proper role of the judiciary.
In short, Clinton is too dishonest to be president, but Trump has said stuff conservatives like. You might wonder why voters should trust a "fraud" and a "con artist" to deliver on these promises. Rubio, who not long ago was warning that Trump's nomination would "shatter and fracture the Republican Party and the conservative movement," did nothing to alleviate such doubts, instead closing with this summation:
After a long and spirited primary, the time for fighting each other is over. It's time to come together and fight for a new direction for America. It's time to win in November.
Not "it's time to elect Donald Trump president of the United States," or even "it's time to put a Republican in the White House." Just "it's time to win in November," whatever that might mean to you. Rubio could be referring to retaining Republican control of Congress, or even a Thanksgiving trip to Vegas. It's not quite "vote your conscience," but it's close.