President Donald Trump courted Puerto Rican voters during a Florida rally on Monday, his first since catching Covid-19.
“I’m not gonna say the best, but I’m just about the best thing that ever happened to Puerto Rico. You better vote for me, Puerto Rico,” boasted the president.
President Trump’s campaign for reelection, like his competitor’s campaign, has moved into Spanish language ads. His first is the one shown below, claiming that Joe Biden’s mental capacity is deteriorating:
This ad is running very frequently in Florida, but also in other hotly contested states such as Pennsylvania, Arizona, and North Carolina.
Another ad specifically targets Puerto Ricans:
This ad, called “Rebuilding,” boasts about the current administration’s response to Hurricane Maria and questions Joe Biden’s voting record on Section 936. “Puerto Ricans can count on Trump,” the ad claims.
Another Spanish language ad shows Joe Biden describing himself as “progressive” along with clips of leaders such as Fidel Castro saying, “Progresista.” The ad focuses on a claim that “Progressive = Socialist.”
Trump trying to make up lost ground with Puerto Ricans
President Trump has made negative comments about Puerto Rico in the past, but has begun to work on gaining votes from Puerto Rican voters in the States. Visits to Florida and Spanish-language ads look central to his strategy.
Trump also released billions of dollars of funds for Puerto Rico. The Governor of Puerto Rico recently endorsed his campaign. He has repeatedly said, “I’m the best thing that ever happened to Puerto Rico.”
In the tweet shown above, Trump says, “The drug manufacturers are coming back. Biden ended that program.” Trump is referring to a tax deal, Section 936, which gave manufacturers significant tax savings, but didn’t create significant revenue or jobs for Puerto Rico. However, there is a widespread belief that the end of Section 936, which took place gradually over a number of years, led to Puerto Rico’s financial troubles. Trump is using this narrative in ads and speeches targeting Puerto Rican voters.
Florida is key
Florida’s Puerto Rican population is expected to be key in the presidential race. According to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Florida’s Winners have led on average by just 2.6% since 1996 — the lowest in any State. Trump’s margin in 2016, when he took Florida against Hillary Clinton, was 1.2%.