Sen. Marco Rubio visits Tampa Bay area this weekend

Marco Rubio, AP file photo

BRANDON, Fla. (WFLA) – Senator Marco Rubio is in the Tampa Bay area this Saturday, 17 days ahead of the primary race for his Senate seat. Rubio spoke at the Brandon offices of the Republican Party of Florida before heading to Polk County Saturday morning.

Senator Rubio is defending criticism from the LGBT community and the Florida Democratic Party about speaking to a religious group who has been outspoken on LGBT issues Friday.

“Ignoring the pleas from hundreds of his constituents, Marco Rubio took the stage at an anti-LGBT rally in Orlando on the 2-month anniversary of the Pulse shooting,” the Florida Democratic Party said in a statement.

“First of all, it was an event of local leaders. There were some people who spoke on that program who communicated themselves in ways I don’t communicate. That shouldn’t stop me from speaking at an event and taking the opportunity to speak to members of the faith community,” Rubio said to News Channel 8.

“My message to these pastors was to love, to love them. That you don’t have to endorse what people do in order to accept them for what they are and to love them and that was the message that I wanted to share. It was the right place to do it,” said Rubio.

News Channel 8 asked Rubio’s Republican opponent Carlos Beruff about the issue earlier this week: “I think politicians just go the direction the wind blows them, they don’t actually mean many things they say , that’s the difference between myself and him,” said Beruff.

Voters will decide who will represent the Republican Party in the Florida Senate Race on August 30.

Beruff and Rubio are still not on the same wave-length when it comes to supporting the Republican Presidential nominee.

“As I’ve said before I do disagree with Donald on a number of issues, I disagree with Hillary on every issue,” said Rubio.

“He doesn’t mean harm by it, he just sometimes verbalizes things that would probably be better not verbalized,” added Beruff. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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