Marco Antonio Rubio born May 28, 1971 is an American politician, attorney, and the junior United States Senator for the State of Florida. A member of the Republican Party, Rubio previously served as Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives. Rubio unsuccessfully sought the Republican nomination for President of the United States in 2016, winning presidential primaries in the State of Minnesota, the District of Columbia, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
Rubio is a Cuban American from Miami, Florida. After serving as a City Commissioner for West Miami in the 1990s, he was elected to represent the 111th district in the Florida House of Representatives in 2000. Subsequently, he was elected Speaker of the Florida House, and was Speaker for two years beginning in November 2006. Upon leaving the Florida legislature in 2008 due to term limits, Rubio started a new law firm and taught at Florida International University.
Rubio successfully ran for United States Senate in 2010. In April 2015, Rubio announced that he would forego seeking reelection to the Senate to run for President. He suspended his campaign for President on March 15, 2016 after losing the Florida Republican primary to the eventual winner of the presidential election, Donald Trump. On June 22, Rubio reversed his decision not to seek reelection to the Senate; he went on to defeat Democratic candidate Patrick Murphy in the 2016 U.S. Senate election in Florida.
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, prior to the rise of Fidel Castro in January 1959. His mother made at least four trips back after Castro’s victory, including for a month in 1961. Neither of his parents were U.S. citizens at the time of Rubio’s birth, but his parents applied for U.S. citizenship and were naturalized in 1975.
Rubio’s maternal grandfather, Pedro Victor Garcia, initially immigrated legally to the U.S. in 1956, but returned to Cuba to find work in 1959. When he 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. The immigration officials had a “change of heart” later the same day, the deportation order was not enforced, and Garcia was given a legal status (“parolee”) that allowed him to stay in the U.S. Rubio’s grandfather remained in the U.S. and re-applied for permanent resident status in 1966, following passage of the Cuban Adjustment Act, at which point his residency was approved. In March 2016, the New York Times reported that Garcia was put in a “gray area” of the law that meant he could remain in the U.S. from 1962 to 1966.
Rubio initially won his U.S. Senate seat with strong Tea Party backing, but his 2013 support for comprehensive immigration reform legislation led to a decline in that support. Rubio’s stance on military, foreign policy and national security issues—such as his support for arming the Syrian rebels and for the NSA—alienated some libertarian-oriented Tea Party activists.
Rubio supports balancing the federal budget, while prioritizing defense spending. He disputes the scientific understanding of climate change, arguing that human activity does not play a major role in global warming and that proposals to address climate change would be ineffective and economically harmful. On Obamacare, he wants to repeal it and replace it with tax credits and less regulation. He opposes net neutrality, a principle of requiring Internet service providers to treat data on the Internet the same regardless of its source or content. With regard to immigration, he supports securing the country’s borders and then offering a legal status to people who came to the United States unlawfully. He also believes there should be more vetting of refugees and that seeking a single comprehensive immigration reform bill would be delusional.
Marco Rubio is an outspoken opponent of abortion. In an interview with Chris Cuomo of CNN, he stated that, “Every life is worthy of protection”. During the 113th Congress, Rubio co-sponsored S.1670 – Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which prohibits an abortion from being performed if the probable post-fertilization age of the unborn child is 20 weeks or greater, with exceptions in the case of rape or incest or if the life of the mother is in danger.
Rubio opposes decriminalization of illegal drugs, does not agree with cannabis legalization, but does support non-euphoric medical cannabis. Rubio supports setting corporate taxes at 25 percent, reforming the tax code, and capping economic regulations, and proposes to increase the social security retirement age based on longer life expectancy. On education, he supports expanding public charter schools, opposes Common Core State Standards, and advocates closing the federal Department of Education.
Rubio supported the 2003 invasion of Iraq and military intervention in Libya. Rubio voiced support for a Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen against the Iran-backed Shia Houthis. Regarding Iran, he supports tough sanctions, and scrapping the recent nuclear deal; on the Islamic State, he favors aiding local Sunni forces in Iraq and Syria. Rubio says that the United States cannot accept more Syrian refugees because background checks cannot be done under present circumstances. He supports working with allies to set up no-fly zones in Syria to protect civilians from Bashar al-Assad. He favors collection of bulk metadata for purposes of national security. He has said that gun control laws consistently fail to achieve their purpose and as of 2017 had received $3,303,355 in donations from the National Rifle Association. He is supportive of the Trans Pacific Partnership, saying that the U.S. risks being excluded from global trade unless it is more open to trade. He is wary of China regarding national security and human rights, and wants to boost the U.S. military presence in that region but hopes for greater economic growth as a result of trading with that country. He also believes the U.S. should support democracy, freedom, and true autonomy of the people of Hong Kong. On capital punishment, Rubio favors streamlining the appeals process.
In February 2018 he attracted controversy following the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting at a town hall event held by CNN when he was questioned by a survivor of the shooting about the supposed $3,303,355 he had received in donations from the NRA. Rubio replied, “I will always accept the help of anyone who agrees with my agenda.”
In March 2018, Rubio defended the decision of the Trump administration to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census. Experts noted that the inclusion of such a question would likely result in severe undercounting of the population and faulty data, as undocumented immigrants would be less likely to respond to the census. Fellow Republican congress members from Florida, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Mario Diaz-Balart, criticized the Trump administration’s decision on the basis that it would lead to a faulty census and disadvantage Florida in terms of congressional apportionment and fund apportionment.
In July 2018, Rubio offered an amendment to a major congressional spending bill to potentially force companies that purchase real estate in cash to disclose their owners as “an attempt to root out criminals who use illicit funds and anonymous shell companies to buy homes.”
Rubio married Jeanette Dousdebes, a former bank teller and Miami Dolphins cheerleader, in 1998 in a Catholic ceremony at the Church of the Little Flower, and together they have four children. Rubio and his family live in West Miami, Florida.
Rubio attends Catholic Mass at Church of the Little Flower in Coral Gables, Florida. He also previously attended Christ Fellowship, a Southern Baptist Church in West Kendall, Florida.