WASHINGTON -- Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) is not a fan of his current job.
"I don't know that 'hate' is the right word," the senator and Republican presidential candidate told The Washington Post recently.
A close friend of Rubio's who also talked to the Post, however, put it more bluntly: "He hates it."
Rubio has missed more Senate votes this year than any of his colleagues. On Wednesday, the Sun Sentinel, a south Florida paper, called on him to resign, saying it's unfair for Floridians to be "without one of our two representatives in the Senate for the next 15 months or so."
But many of Rubio's Republican colleagues told The Huffington Post on Tuesday they love being in the Senate.
"I do like my job. It's wonderful," Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) said. "I love working with all these great people and representing Iowa."
Senators who, like Ernst, are relatively new to the institution were especially upbeat about it.
"I'm sorry [Rubio] doesn’t like his job, because I love mine -- representing the people of Nebraska," said Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.).
"I think some people don't like their jobs because it's boring, it's the same thing every day," said Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) said. "This job is different every day, and you get to meet just fascinating people."
Most of the GOP lawmakers who spoke with HuffPost were diplomatic about Rubio and seemed reluctant to take him on directly.
"I'm not going to criticize him," Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) said, adding that he finds it a privilege to be in "the most exclusive club in the world."
It's a "tough job running for president," Flake said. "He's a good legislator."
"I like my job, I like the Senate," Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) said. "It's rewarding some days, frustrating the next, but it's part of the process."
"Voting in the Senate is important," he continued, "but probably not as important for not just Rubio, but anyone running for president of the United States, because it’s hard to be here every day and run for president."
Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) said he "love[s]" his job, but clearly Rubio "wants to do something different."
A few lawmakers, however, were less charitable.
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) advised Rubio to "fill the role that you have. If you're in the Senate, you need to fulfill that role. As my wife says, 'Don't blame me, you asked for the job.'"
"He may not like some of the things he's voting on, but somebody has to do it," Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) said. "You've got to have a highway bill, you've got to have a defense authorization bill."
Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) said he found the role "exhilarating," and said he had never actually heard Rubio express dissatisfaction with his job.
Moments later, however, Heller vented frustration at the senators who didn't show up to vote for his amendment to the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act. The amendment, which would have prevented federal agencies from sharing individuals' private data in their efforts to boost security, failed 47-49. All of the Republican senators who are running for president -- Rubio, Rand Paul (Ky.), Lindsey Graham (S.C.) and Ted Cruz (Texas) -- were MIA for the vote.
However, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who is running on the Democratic side, was in attendance.
Rubio has defended his frequent absences by saying he's working toward something bigger.
"I'm not missing votes because I'm on vacation," the senator told CNN in an interview that aired Sunday. "A lot of these votes won't mean anything. They're not going to pass and even if they did, the president would veto it."
"Everyone needs to run their own campaign," he said.
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