President Says No to Puerto Rico Statehood Because of San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz
Donald Trump on Monday declared himself an “absolute no” on statehood for Puerto Rico as long as critics such as San Juan’s Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz remains 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,” Trump told Fox News’ Geraldo Rivera in an interview with WTAM Radio in Cleveland. He later called Cruz “a horror show.” In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, Cruz made repeated public pleas for more immediate aid from the federal government. "People are dying in this country," Cruz said at a news conference days after Maria devastated the island. "I am begging, begging anyone that can hear us, to save us from dying. If anybody out there is listening to us, we are dying, and you are killing us with the inefficiency and the bureaucracy." With that, she drew the attention and ire of the president. Puerto Rico’s Governor Ricardo Rosselló, an advocate of statehood for the island, said Trump’s remarks had trivialized the statehood process because of political differences. “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,” Rossello said. Cruz called it a “great honor” to be singled out by Trump. “It highlights that he knows that while he was playing golf at Mar-a-Lago, I was up to my waist in water and human waste” during the storm. More than 3 million U.S. citizens live in Puerto Rico with fewer constitutional rights than anyone living in one of the 50 states. Puerto Rico’s status as a U.S. territory, which is rooted in racist legal rulings, has been challenged by the pro-statehood political party, which won control of the island’s legislature in 2016. More here.