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.

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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 RubioFrustration boils over with Senate's 'legislative graveyard' Senate passes disaster aid bill after deal with Trump GOP senators work to get Trump on board with new disaster aid package MORE (R-Fla.), Rep. Rob BishopRobert (Rob) William BishopDozens of states consider move to permanent daylight saving time Statehood bill could make Puerto Rico a state before 2020 Here's why Congress, not the president, should lead on environmental protection 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.