Gov says Trump’s comments on Puerto Rico statehood were disrespectful
SAN JUAN – During the debut of Geraldo Rivera’s new talk-show on Cleveland’s WTAM radio, the Fox News correspondent-at-large interviewed President Trump, who among other topics, targeted San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, calling her “that woman,” whose name he didn’t know, and adding, “With people like that involved in Puerto Rico, I would be an absolute no” regarding support for the admission of Puerto Rico as a state.
“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 said, while continuing to blame Puerto Ricans for the problems in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.
“Number one, it starts with you have the mayor of San Juan, who’s incompetent…You have, as you know: locally, they did a very, very poor job,” Trump said.
In reaction, the mayor tweeted: “Trump again accuses me of telling the truth. Now he says statehood isn’t coming because of me.”
In the interview, the president repeated, for a third time this week, that Puerto Rico had no “electric” on the island before the hurricane, as well as that Maria’s death toll “went from 16 to 64. We did a great job, and then you went from 64 to 3,000? How did that happen? And they couldn’t explain it.”
Puerto Rico’s official death toll now stands at 2,975 and is based on a study commissioned by the Government of Puerto Rico and carried out by researchers at George Washington University’s Milken Institute School of Public Health.
“The storms hit and they said, ‘Oh let’s blame Trump for the electric, let’s have Trump– let’s have Trump fix the electric plant, which takes a long time to rebuild it, which is a big deal. Let’s blame Trump for everything,’” the president said while referring to himself in the third person.
“The electric was dead for years, and if you look at it, they blame Trump for the electric,” Trump reiterated. “I got things to Puerto Rico that nobody could’ve gotten,” he added while complaining that he isn’t credited for his accomplishments.
Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló issued the following statement in reaction to the president’s remarks:
“Today President Donald Trump made an unfortunate statement regarding the unequal and colonial relationship between the United States and Puerto Rico.
“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.
“Equality for the U.S. citizens of Puerto Rico is the biggest civil rights issue in the United States. Americans in the island cannot vote for their President and do not have voting representation in Congress yet are subject to federal laws. This undemocratic relationship has gone on for over 100 years.
“Since World War I, Puerto Rican soldiers have fought hand in hand in all major military conflicts on behalf of our nation, the United States, yet our servicemen and women have no say in the government that sends them to war and cannot elect their Commander in Chief.
“How can the United States make the case for democracy at the United Nations this week, when they have under their flag the most populous colony in the world? I urge all political leaders in the nation to define their views towards our quest for equal treatment for the U.S. citizens in Puerto Rico.
“While a Presidential candidate, Trump said that the will of the Puerto Rican people in any status referendum should be considered as Congress follows through on any desired change in status for Puerto Rico, including statehood. Moreover, the GOP 2016’s political platform explicitly recognized Puerto Rico’s 2012 status referendum and supported statehood.
“Twice in the last 10 years, Puerto Ricans have supported, with their vote, equality through statehood. In democracies, the will of the people is not subject to the whims of one person.
“I am confident that in the months ahead that we will get the support of members of Congress and the White House to achieve full equality through statehood for Puerto Rico.”
Meanwhile, in a statement, Senate President Thomas Rivera Schatz said that “colonial journalists, anti-statehooders and separatists…want to give relevance to a remark President Trump made about statehood for Puerto Rico, qualifying it as his opposition to Puerto Rico;s admission as a state of the Union. Mr. Trump’s comment was rather a strong criticism of the mayor of the Capital of Puerto Rico.
“Some [so-called] ‘journalists or columnists’ often ridicule Trump for what he says and today they take it ‘very seriously.’
The end of the colony does not depend on Trump, it depends on us Puerto Ricans. Admission as a state has never been given away, it has ALWAYS been demanded. That is up to US….”
Rivera also asked Trump about Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings. Listen to the interview here:
Geraldo Interviews President Trump https://t.co/o15u241TPk
— Newsradio WTAM 1100 (@wtam1100) September 24, 2018