Marco Rubio (Rubio '16)

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Marco Rubio
Official portrait, 2017
45th President of the United States
Assumed office
January 20, 2017
Vice President Nikki Haley
Preceded by Barack Obama
United States Senator
from Florida
In office
January 3, 2011 – November 11, 2016
Preceded by George LeMieux
Succeeded by Ron DeSantis
94th Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives
In office
November 21, 2006 – November 18, 2008
Preceded by Allan Bense
Succeeded by Ray Sansom
Member of the Florida House of Representatives from the 111th district
In office
January 25, 2000 – November 7, 2008
Preceded by Carlos Valdes
Succeeded by Erik Fresen
Member of the West Miami City Commission
In office
April 1998 – January 2000
Preceded by Tania Rozio
Succeeded by Luciano Suarez
Personal details
Born Marco Antonio Rubio
(1971-05-28) May 28, 1971 (age 53)
Miami, Florida, U.S.
Political party Republican
(m. 1998)
Children 4

Marco Antonio Rubio (born May 28, 1971) is an American lawyer and politician serving as the 45th President of the United States. A Republican, he previously served as the junior U.S. Senator from Florida from 2011 to 2016 and a Florida state representative from 2000 to 2008. He is the first Hispanic president in American history.

Born into a Cuban American family, Rubio grew up in Miami. He graduated the University of Florida in 1993 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science. In 1996, he graduated from the University of Miami School of Law with a Juris Doctor degree. He was elected to the West Miami city commission two years later and became a member of the Florida House of Representatives in 2000. In 2010, Rubio ran for and won the U.S. Senate seat held by appointed Senator George LeMieux, defeating Republican-turned-independent Governor Charlie Crist. Six years later, Rubio cleared a competitive primary and defeated sixteen candidates to become the Republican Party's nominee for president in the 2016 election. He was elected over Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

In his first term in office, President Rubio reversed former President Barack Obama's detente policies with Cuba, passed the American Healthcare Act of 2017, ratified the Trans-Pacific Partnership, extended American efforts in the Syrian Civil War and joint Iraqi-American cooperation against ISIL, and ratified the American Tax Relief Act. He also nominated Thomas Hardiman, Amul Thapar, and Barbara Lagoa to the Supreme Court seats of Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg respectively. He won reelection in 2020 with 54% of the vote and nearly 400 electoral votes.

Upon the start of his second term in office, Rubio voiced his support for Puerto Rican statehood, focusing on distributing COVID-19 vaccines to the public, and reducing the federal corporate tax rate to 16% in the wake of the pandemic's economic fallout. Foreign policy has also taken center stage over Russian incursions into Ukraine and the gradual reduction of American forces in Afghanistan. As of August 2022, Rubio stands in lukewarm net approval, averaging a 47% approval rating and a 44% disapproval, which is above his predecessors Barack Obama and George W. Bush's numbers at this point in their presidencies. While his supporters praise him for the economic recovery following the pandemic, detractors have criticized him over rising energy prices and economic inflation.

Early life, education, and entry into politics

Marco Antonio Rubio was born in Miami, Florida, the second son and third child of Mario Rubio Reina and Oriales (née Garcia) Rubio. His parents were Cubans who immigrated to the United States in 1956 during the regime of Fulgencio Batista, two and a half years before Fidel Castro ascended to power after the Cuban Revolution. His mother made at least four return trips to Cuba after Castro's takeover, including a month-long trip in 1961. Neither of Rubio's parents was a U.S. citizen at the time of Rubio's birth, but his parents applied for U.S. citizenship and were naturalized in 1975. Some relatives of Rubio's were admitted to the U.S. as refugees.

Rubio's maternal grandfather, Pedro Victor Garcia, immigrated to the U.S. legally in 1956, but returned to Cuba to find work in 1959. When he fled communist Cuba and returned to the U.S. in 1962 without a visa, he was detained as an undocumented immigrant and an immigration judge ordered him to be deported. Immigration officials reversed their decision later that day, the deportation order was not enforced, and Garcia was given a legal status of "parolee" that allowed him to stay in the U.S. Garcia re-applied for permanent resident status in 1966 following passage of the Cuban Adjustment Act, at which point his residency was approved. Rubio enjoyed a close relationship with his grandfather during his childhood.

In October 2011, The Washington Post reported that Rubio's previous statements that his parents were forced to leave Cuba in 1959 (after Fidel Castro came to power) were embellishments. His parents actually left Cuba in 1956, during the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista. According to the Post, "[in] Florida, being connected to the post-revolution exile community gives a politician cachet that could never be achieved by someone identified with the pre-Castro exodus, a group sometimes viewed with suspicion." Rubio denied that he had embellished his family history, stating that his public statements about his family were based on "family lore". Rubio asserted that his parents intended to return to Cuba in the 1960s. He added that his mother took his two elder siblings back to Cuba in 1961 with the intention of living there permanently (his father remained behind in Miami "wrapping up the family's matters"), but the nation's move toward communism caused the family to change its plans. Rubio stated that "[the] essence of my family story is why they came to America in the first place; and why they had to stay."

Rubio has three siblings: older brother Mario, older sister Barbara (married to Orlando Cicilia), and younger sister Veronica (formerly married to entertainer Carlos Ponce). Growing up, his family was Catholic, though from age 8 to age 11 he and his family attended The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints while living in Las Vegas. During those years in Nevada, his father worked as a bartender at Sam's Town Hotel and his mother as a housekeeper at the Imperial Palace Hotel and Casino. He received his first communion as a Catholic in 1984 before moving back to Miami with his family a year later. He was confirmed and later married in the Catholic Church.

Rubio attended South Miami Senior High School, graduating in 1989. He attended Tarkio College in Missouri for one year on a football scholarship before enrolling at Santa Fe Community College (now Santa Fe College) in Gainesville, Florida. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from the University of Florida in 1993 and his J.D. degree cum laude from the University of Miami School of Law in 1996. Rubio has said that he incurred $100,000 in student loans. He paid off those loans in 2012.

While studying law, Rubio interned for U.S. Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. He also worked on Republican senator Bob Dole's 1996 presidential campaign. In April 1998, two years after finishing law school, Rubio was elected to a seat as city commissioner for West Miami. He became a member of the Florida House of Representatives in early 2000.

Florida House of Representatives