Saturday, September 21, 2019

Trump says he opposes statehood for Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló (D) criticized President Trump, who said in an interview that he opposes granting the territory statehood while pointing to an “incompetent” mayor in San Juan.

“The President said he is not in favor of statehood for the people of Puerto Rico based on a personal feud with a local mayor. This is an insensitive, disrespectful comment to over 3 million Americans who live in the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico,” said Rosselló in a statement.

In a pre-recorded interview with Geraldo Rivera, Trump said he’d remain against statehood for the territory while San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz remained in office. “With the mayor of San Juan as bad as she is and as incompetent as she is, Puerto Rico shouldn’t be talking about statehood until they get some people that really know what they’re doing,” said Trump.

Cruz and Trump have feuded over the federal response to Hurricane Maria. Cruz, whose Popular Democratic Party opposes statehood, responded to Trump’s comments over Twitter; “Trump once again accuses me of telling the truth. Now he says statehood won’t arrive because of me,” she tweeted.

Trump’s comments on Rivera’s show escalated a budding public disagreement between the president and Rosselló. Last week Trump and Rosselló disagreed publicly over the official death count of hurricanes Irma and Maria, which a George Washington University study estimated at 2,975.

In a letter to Trump commemorating the anniversary of Maria, Rosselló asked the president to consider moving forward the cause of statehood for the island. Rosselló appealed to Trump’s leadership, saying “statehood for Puerto Rico is not only about realizing Puerto Rico’s full potential. It is about America living up to its most noble values by creating a more perfect Union.”

THE HILL