Sen. Marco Rubio on Saturday responded to clashes between Donald Trump's supporters and protesters at the Republican frontrunner's rally in Chicago, warning "this is what the Republican Party's going to be defined by" if the billionaire businessman gets the nomination.
"I think we also have to look at the rhetoric of the frontrunner in the presidential campaign," Rubio told reporters. "This is a man who in rallies has told his supporters to basically beat up the people who are in the crowd and he'll pay their legal fees. Someone who's basically encouraged the people in the audience to rough up anyone who stands up and says something he doesn't like."
The Trump campaign had to cancel a rally in Chicago Friday after the clashes were reported.
"The protesters are not blameless, some of these people are organized elements who are paid. Others just went there for the intent of disrupting an event… And you don't have a right to disrupt an event just because you disagree with someone," Rubio added.
He continued, "I think the media has to bear some responsibility. For too long, those comments were ignored. Some people thought they were cute. And he's gotten an enormous amount of coverage for all the stuff he says that's outrageous. Every time Donald Trump offends someone, says something ridiculous, says something offensive, it's wall to wall coverage… which has elevated him even more."
Rubio warned of serious consequences. "This is what a culture and a society looks like when everyone goes around saying whatever the heck they want… The result is, it all breaks down. It's called chaos. It's called anarchy. And that's what we're careening towards," he said.
The great thing about America is that "we settle our differences in this country at the ballot box," he said. "Not with guns or bayonets or violence. And you wonder whether we're headed in a different direction today where we're no longer able or capable of having differences of opinion, but in fact now protests become a license to take violence, to take on your opponents physically."
Rubio added, "I think — forget about the election for a moment. There's a broader issue in our political culture in this country and this is what happens when a leading presidential candidate goes around feeding into a narrative of anger and bitterness and frustration. And I think we all need to take a step back and ask ourselves, are we contributing to this? Because if this continues, I think this country will continue to be ripped apart at the seams and we will be incapable of solving any of the major issues that we have."
It's not just about the reputation of the Republican Party, although he can fracture and destroy the party, but it's also about the whole of America, the Florida senator maintained.
On supporting Trump if he becomes the GOP nominee, Rubio said, "I don't know. I mean, I already talked about the fact that I think Hillary Clinton would be terrible for this country. But the fact that you're even asking me that question, I still at this moment continue to intend to support the Republican nominee, but it's getting harder every day."
Meanwhile, Rubio won Saturday's primary in the District of Columbia, edging out Ohio Gov. John Kasich and beating Trump and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.