After losing by almost 20 points in his home state, Marco Rubio officially suspended his campaign Tuesday night.
Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump garnered 45.8 percent of the votes cast in Florida, adding to wins in Illinois and North Carolina. He also came out on top in Missouri over rival Ted Cruz by a razor-thin margin. Ohio Gov. John Kasich carried his home state, edging out the real estate tycoon with 46.8 percent of the vote.
Rubio congratulated Trump on his win in a concession speech marked with grace and humility.
“After tonight, it is clear that while we are on the right side, this year, we will not be on the winning side,” he told disappointed supporters in Miami.
As fate would have it, Rubio was interrupted by a heckler professing support for Trump, but the dejected candidate reassured the crowd that the man would not be beat up at a his rally.
The Florida senator acknowledged that “America’s in the middle of a real political storm, a real tsunami,” but maintained the optimism that was the cornerstone of his campaign over the anger embraced by a plurality of Republican voters.
“While it is not God’s plan that I be president in 2016 or maybe ever, and while today my campaign is suspended, the fact that I’ve even come this far is evidence of how truly special America is,” Rubio said.
The reaction to Rubio suspending his campaign ran the gamut, and included plenty of mocking. But more than one social media user was reminded of Ronald Reagan’s loss in 1976.
Here’s a sampling of other hopeful responses from Twitter:
@NoahCRothman Am I the only one thinking of Reagan on Election Night in 1976?
— Yali Elkin (@yalielkin) March 16, 2016
This might be the hardest speech Rubio has ever had to give, but it might be the best of his life.
— Ellen L. Carmichael (@ellencarmichael) March 16, 2016
@ellencarmichael @chrystidrew11 Very much like Reagan in 1976. 2020 will be the Rubio Revolution!
— Janet Geary Harlan (@harlanjanet) March 16, 2016
Rubio giving the GOP’s eulogy right now.
— Alicia Smith (@Alicia_Smith19) March 16, 2016
— PATRICK JAMES (@puertavieja_) March 16, 2016
Rubio opens by thanking Trump. Trump supporter interrupts, heckles him at his own party.
— Stephen Hayes (@stephenfhayes) March 16, 2016
— Curtis Covill (@curtcovill) March 16, 2016
Rubio’s concession speech seems basically to be his victory speech with different punctuation.
— Alex Wagner (@alexwagner) March 16, 2016
This is a damn good speech by Rubio as he suspends
— Ben Jacobs (@Bencjacobs) March 16, 2016
Rubio, in defeat, giving a speech that shows why he made Democrats nervous.
— Matt Pearce (@mattdpearce) March 16, 2016
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