In a possible effort to unnerve an opponent, Donald Trump turned an awkward Marco Rubio moment into an opportunity for a political prank with the delivery of what his campaign called a “care package” – a case of specially labeled “Trump Ice Natural Spring Water.”

The front-runner included two “Make America Great Again” towels and Trump bumper stickers with the package sent to Rubio’s Senate office in Washington, D.C.

The 16.9 ounce water bottles are the same variety provided at Trump properties around the world. The label bears a photograph of a smiling Donald Trump and the slogan: “Water for the Body & Soul… This is water the way it was meant to be.”

Trump enclosed a note, “Since you’re always sweating, we thought you could use some water. Enjoy!”

The “gift,” described by Trump’s campaign staff as a “lighthearted prank” is, in part, a reference to the televised Republican response to President Obama’s State of the Union address in 2013, when Rubio, who had been chosen to deliver the speech immediately following the president, reached for a bottle of Poland water to relieve a case of “speaker’s dry-mouth.”

Coupled with Rubio’s youthful appearance, the unscripted “water bottle” moment drew more attention than his prepared speech to the president’s address and created the impression that Rubio was not ready for the national stage.

Rubio, who is the American-born son of Cuban immigrants, drew attention to the moment during the September 17th debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library when the staging resulted in all eleven candidates perspiring heavily.

“I’m also aware that California has a drought, and so that’s why I made sure I brought my water.”

Trump commented after the debate, “The room was extremely hot, extremely hot for everyone sitting there and for the people sitting,” but seized the opportunity to single out Rubio. “I’ve never seen anybody sweat like that and you know a lot of these guys are serious sweaters.” It was uncertain whether his reference to “these guys” was to other candidates or Cubans.

Rubio kept his cool and downplayed Trump’s water bottle and towel gag saying, “So, it’s water. I heard it’s very high quality water. It’s top-notch water. We’re grateful for the gift.”

Rubio pointed out that campaigns look for anything that will give them publicity and an edge over the competitors.

The renewed attention to the 2013 incident appears to be designed to get under Rubio’s skin as the third presidential debate nears.

Trump’s “special delivery” coincided with the release of an ad that underscores the perception of Rubio as too young and unpolished to be president. “Never hire a boy to do a man’s job.”

In recent polls, Trump leads the Republican candidates for the nomination with 21 percent while Rubio polled at 11 percent.


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