FACT CHECK: Would Marco Rubio Would Be First Non-White Person On Republican Presidential Ticket If Chosen By Trump?

Elias Atienza | Senior Reporter

NBC News claimed Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio would be the first non-white person on a Republican ticket if chosen by former President Donald Trump as vice presidential nominee.

Verdict: Misleading

Deceased Vice President Charles Curtis had Native American ancestry and is considered to be the first person of color to hold the office. He appeared on the 1928 Republican presidential ticket. He also had European ancestry. NBC News later issued a correction.

Fact Check:

Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, has yet to choose his running mate, though there are reports he’s considering several people, according to New York Magazine.

NBC News reported that Trump was considering Rubio. In the report, the outlet claimed Rubio “would be the first non-white person ever to make a Republican presidential ticket.” (RELATED: Viral X Video Does Not Show Protest In London, Predates Israel-Hamas War)

This, though, is misleading. Rubio would not be the first non-white person. The first non-white person on a Republican presidential ticket would be Charles Curtis, who was vice president from 1929 to 1933, according to USA Today. Curtis was part Native American and served in the Senate from 1915 to 1929, the outlet reported.

Curtis was an enrolled member of the Kaw Nation, according to the Smithsonian Magazine. He spent some of his childhood living on the Kaw reservation and spoke Kanza and French and was known as “Indian Charlie,” the outlet noted.

Curtis was on the ticket with President Herbert Hoover in 1928, according to the American Presidency Project. Curtis had run for president against Hoover, but his biography on the Senate website notes that his “colorful background, which had aided him in every election, failed to muster the support needed to launch a successful presidential campaign.”

“Instead, he accepted the nomination for vice president,” the biography notes.

NBC News issued a correction after Check Your Fact reached out for comment.

CORRECTION (March 21, 11:59 a.m. ET): A previous version of this article misstated the historical significance of having Sen. Marco Rubio on a Republican presidential ticket. He would not be the first nonwhite person on the ticket; Charles Curtis, Herbert Hoover’s vice president, had Native American ancestry and was the first, in 1928,” the correction reads.

Curtis has a complicated legacy with Native Americans, such as pushing policies that many saw as damaging, according to Smithsonian Magazine.

Elias Atienza

Senior Reporter
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