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Veepstakes: Could Marco Rubio become the first Latino VP?

Veepstakes: Could Marco Rubio become the first Latino VP?

Sen. Marco Rubio

Mariana Robertson via Reuters

Florida’s senior senator earned the nickname “Lil’ Marco” for challenging Donald Trump during the 2016 primaries, but he has since forged a close alliance with the former president – so much so that some believe he could be tapped for No. 2.

Rubio was born in Miami to Cuban immigrants who arrived before the 1959 communist revolution — contrary to claims he had long made of them fleeing from Fidel Castro. He speaks fluent Spanish and got his start in politics in 1998 as a city commissioner in West Miami, where the 2000 census showed 87% of residents spoke Spanish as a first language.

Rubio won election to the Florida House of Representatives through a special election in 1999 and served until 2008, rising to Speaker in 2006. He briefly taught at Florida International University before winning a seat in the US Senate, where he has served since 2011. He ran for president in 2016 but failed to outrun the Trump juggernaut – and dropped out after coming in second in his home-state primary. During Trump’s first term, he became an overt loyalist and voted to acquit Trump in his second impeachment trial for his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol.

He’s a moderate who could make independents feel less anxious about voting for Trump, but Eurasia Group’s US Managing Director Jon Lieber says choosing him would mean the Trump campaign is “confused about their vulnerabilities since Rubio brings nothing the other candidates don’t.”

Florida and the Cuban vote are already securely in the Republican column, and Rubio isn’t likely to bring over the working-class midwesterners Trump needs to pull away from Biden.

To learn about Trump’s other possible VP picks, check out our Veepstakes series here.


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