Former Presidents Support Statehood for Puerto Rico

Congress makes territories into States. Thirty-two territories have already become States, and it has been Congress that has launched the federal process in every case. The President of the United States signs the bill that completes the process, but the president cannot create or vote for the bill.

That doesn’t mean that presidents don’t have opinions on statehood for Puerto Rico.

George H.W. Bush supported statehood

President George H.W. Bush supported statehood for Puerto Rico. He told his speechwriters to include the subject in his first State of the Union Address in 1989. When they left the topic out, he wrote in his own words, saying, “I strongly support statehood.”

Ronald Reagan supported statehood

“The United States will welcome you with open arms,” said President Ronald Reagan. “I personally favor statehood.”

President Reagan wrote a strongly worded letter on the subject saying that statehood would benefit Puerto Rico and the United States alike. He also wrote an article in the Wall Street Journal including these words:

[My campaign speech] also included a commitment that, as President, I would initiate statehood legislation, which really means that I would take the lead in persuading the people of Puerto Rico, the mainland United States – all American citizens -that statehood will be good for all of us.

Gerald Ford supported statehood

“If you favor statehood as I do,” President Gerald Ford said in a video ad, “send a strong message to Congress and to the nation.”

In 1977, President Ford made a very clear statement in support of statehood for Puerto Rico. “The common bonds of friendship, tradition, dignity and individual freedom have joined the people of the United States and the people of Puerto Rico,” he said. “It is now time to make these bonds permanent through statehood.”

Presidents supporting self-determination for Puerto Rico

Many more presidents, including Trump, Obama, George W. Bush, Clinton, Carter, Kennedy, and Eisenhower, have spoken out in support of self-determination for Puerto Rico. The territory has formally requested statehood following two votes favoring this option.

2 Comments

Dennis Freytes

*US Constitution; Trump & Federal Discrimination*
President Trump recently talked about our US Constitution, as he left out the incongruent Federal institutional discrimination against Hispanics-Puerto Ricans (about 10 million strong–US Territory, and States).

The Facts are: Since, 1898 (for over 122+ years)–fellow, but, 2d Class US Citizens-American Veterans (part of “We the People”), in the US Territory of PR (with more US Citizens than 22 States) — have made many valuable contributions to our USA! But, until TODAY Puerto Ricans face Federal undemocratic Control—NO Federal “Consent of the Governed” (NO Vote for US President; NO just Representation in US Congress; NO Parity in Federal Laws-Programs-Funds; NO permanent statutory US Citizenship-even in a State) that other US Citizens have, under our US Constitution; noble US Flag- that Represents all diverse “WE THE PEOPLE”!

Today, Puerto Ricans work on solving a complex Magna CRISIS which major ROOT components are-
*Economic-Jobs; Fiscal-Debt; Infrastructure; Social; Status-Equality*
Where each PART affects the other; the Federal undemocratic Territorial (Colonial) Status, per the outdated Territorial Clause (1787), and racist Insular Cases (1901-1925+)– affects everything. Federal discrimination ties Puerto Rican hands to fairly compete on a level Playing Field!

The Federal Government (of both Parties) have done some good things, but, still play “Political Football” with Puerto Ricans; only put “Band-Aids”, not fix the Roots of the Crisis-undemocratic Federal Status as former US Presidents, from Ronald Reagan to now (except Trump)– have called for Equality (support Statehood). Even, Theodore Roosevelt, in 1906, wrote a Report to the US Congress to provide Equality for Puerto Ricans (part of “WE THE PEOPLE”).

However, Trump, former Chief of Staff Mulvany, and Others have smeared, and Stereotyped Puerto Ricans– by Generalizing–calling the US Territory of Puerto Rico “one of the most corrupt places on earth”…. Then, Trump uses “Corruption” as an excuse to withhold Federal Funds (when “Corruption” is everywhere- including in all the States and Federal Government). “Corruption” is an Individual Crime that the Justice System (with due process) must act on. Every Group has the Good, Bad, Ugly, and Evil! You either support Equality or you discriminate. Can’t have it both ways!

Besides, Trump makes Excuses to slash or hold back–Federal Funds (Disaster, MEDICAID, HUD-Housing, Military-PR National Guard-took $480 Million for the Wall, and others)– that FAIRLY correspond or are owed (by Law) to Puerto Ricans… Also, Trump unfairly ended the Task Force on Puerto Rico Status that sought to bring Fairness-Equality; has stated he doesn’t want Statehood for Puerto Rico because they would elect Democrats… This is nonsense; discriminatory!

Trump with his words and actions undermines– the Fairness-Equality-Moral spirit of our US Constitution, and the US Territory of Puerto Rico Government which has inherited the Fiscal mess, and is Republican (Governor, RC-Congresswoman; Speaker, and Senate President), as they are taking some good steps to fight Individual corruption, and deal with the Roots of the 122+ year MAGNA Crisis.
Our evolving US Constitution (with Amendments) stands for Fair Treatment—Equal Civil Rights for ALL “WE THE PEOPLE”; while imperfect, and left to some interpretation, it’s the best in the annals of Human History! Plus, our Declaration of Independence states: “Consent of the Governed” for all…

Moving forward, the Federal Government, along with the PR Territorial Government, must FIX the roots of Federal discrimination against Hispanics-Puerto Ricans, not only provide Excuses or Generalizations that discriminate; must ensure Fair Treatment-Equal Rights for all “WE THE PEOPLE”–through a defined, non-Territorial, Plebiscite (Statehood “YES” or “NO”)… Let the People decide!

Puerto Ricans (integrated born US Citizens-American Veterans) want Statehood; cherish their US Citizenship; have voted in CERTIFIED Plebiscites for STATEHOOD (2012 & 2017); are against Independence (which only got 2-5% of the vote in the last six local Plebiscites); elected a Government pro-Statehood; have made many valuable contributions to our USA, since 1513-when their Ancestors came to the now US—107 years before the Pilgrims; fought in the US Revolutionary War… until Today. Puerto Ricans sacrifice; shed sweat, blood, and tears for our noble US!

Plus, Polls (Gallop and others) show majority support (both in the States and Territory) for EQUALITY+PROGRESS=STATEHOOD with DIGNITY.

Silence to discrimination; supports injustice! We must Guard against the “Tyranny of a Majority”! United with Truth, Reason, Courage, and Civic Action for the Good of ALL!
XXX
Dennis O. Freytes (MPA, MHR, BBA)-Florida Veterans Hall of Fame; Community Servant Leader

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