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Coburn endorses Rubio, slams Trump

Former U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn
Former U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn

WASHINGTON _ Former U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn on Monday endorsed U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio for the GOP presidential nomination and said Donald Trump was "perpetuating a fraud."

Coburn, a Republican who was Oklahoma's most popular political figure when he resigned in early 2015, said Rubio was the only Republican candidate in the mold of former President Ronald Reagan.

"While some are offering a message of victimization and helplessness against Washington, Marco understands that ‘We the People’ are not the establishment and the elites in American society. 

"We need a president who will reawaken our belief in the American idea and not merely complain about how things are but challenge us to dream of what could be."

Several prominent politicians and business leaders in Oklahoma have endorsed Rubio, including U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe and U.S. Rep. Markwayne Mullin.

Inhofe and Coburn strongly opposed the immigration bill that Rubio and the so-called "Gang of Eight" sponsored and pushed through the Senate three years ago.

In his statement on Monday, Coburn said  Trump is "perpetuating a fraud on the American people. His empty promises, bullying and bloviating rhetoric will only deepen the frustration and disillusionment that gave rise to his campaign. He simply lacks the character, skills and policy knowledge to turn his grandiose promises into reality."

Coburn's endorsement came a day before voters in Oklahoma and a dozen other states and territories head to the polls for Super Tuesday primary voting. Trump has led all polls in Oklahoma and visited the state for the second time last week.

Rubio hosted a rally in Oklahoma City on Friday and is scheduled to be there again tonight before going to Tulsa.

Coburn said Rubio "has been an extremely effective Tea Party senator. No candidate running for president has fought Obamacare more effectively than Marco and no one has a better grasp of foreign affairs and America’s place in the world."

Chris Casteel

Chris Casteel began working for The Oklahoman's Norman bureau in 1982 while a student at the University of Oklahoma. Casteel covered the police beat, federal courts and the state Legislature in Oklahoma City. From 1990 through 2016, he was the... Read more ›