Trump’s remarks contrary to the GOP stand on Puerto Rico

The recent remarks of President Donald Trump regarding statehood for Puerto Rico, a United States Territory since 1898, are completely rooted in a personal feud with a local politician, and not, by any stretch of the imagination, public policy or the view of the vast majority of the members of Congress and the American people.

As a U.S. citizen, Puerto Rican and member of the Republican Party, I strongly disagree with his statement, which runs contrary to the great traditions and values of our nation, its people and even the party’s own platform.


The Republican Party platform adopted in 2016 during the Republican National Convention, clearly states that the United States will grant statehood to Puerto Rico. The exact words in the Platform are: “We (GOP) support the right of American citizens of Puerto Rico to be admitted to the Union as a fully sovereign state. We also recognize the historical significance of the local referendum in 2012 in which 54% voted to end the current system.”

Those results, in addition with the historic electoral support received by all pro-statehood candidates during the 2016 election, set a clear and loud message to the nation, as the NPP ran a campaign based on our admission as the 51st state. If that wasn’t enough, just a few months later, the U.S. citizens of Puerto Rico reaffirmed that vote with a robust 97.5 percent of all ballots cast in the 2017 status referendum favoring statehood.

Since 1940, the Republican Party has favored statehood as Puerto Rico’s rightful destiny. Today, that goal is closer than ever. Powerful members of Congress, such as Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioChina's TikTok turns to former lawmakers to help with content moderation policies Hillicon Valley: Warren turns up heat in battle with Facebook | Instagram unveils new data privacy feature | Advocacy group seeks funding to write about Big Tech TikTok adds former lawmakers to help develop content moderation policies MORE (R-Fla.), Rep. Rob BishopRobert (Rob) William BishopHere are the lawmakers who aren't seeking reelection in 2020 Overnight Energy: House moves to block Trump drilling | House GOP rolls out proposal to counter offshore drilling ban | calls mount for NOAA probe House GOP rolls out energy proposal to counter Democrats offshore drilling ban MORE (R-Utah) and many others have publicly endorsed admission.

“I am supportive of statehood. I think it is a solution that is long overdue,” said Bishop, a chairman of the Natural Resources Committee.

Even past Republican presidents, such as George W. Bush, and his father, George H. W. Bush, among others, have strongly supported statehood for Puerto Rico. This is why we urge Mr. Trump to follow that tradition and to honor the GOP’s platform, a document he pledged to follow.

The United States has a moral obligation to grant Puerto Rico, within the next few years, full admission into the union, as our nation’s 51st state. The U.S. citizens residing on the island will not settle for anything less.

Carlos ‘Johnny’ Mendez-Nunez is speaker of the Puerto Rico House of Representatives.