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Surprise! Donald Trump Is President of Puerto Rico

This screenshot shows that searches for the answer to the question, “Who is the president of Puerto Rico?” peaked in the fall of 2017, right after Hurricane Maria’s catastrophic landfall in Puerto Rico. It also shows that people are still looking for the answer to that question.

So who is the president of Puerto Rico?

As of this writing, Donald Trump is President of the United States, and therefore also the president of Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico is a territory belonging to the United States, so President Trump is the Chief of State of Puerto Rico just as he is of New York and Florida.

Puerto Rico has no voice in presidential elections because it is a territory rather than a State. In the United States, each State holds a vote for president and vice president. Each State sends one or more representatives to the Electoral College. Those representatives usually will vote as the State voted. Not all States require this.

However, it is the vote of the Electoral College and not of the individual citizens that determines who becomes President of the United States. Since Puerto Rico is not a State, the residents of Puerto Rico have no voice in the Electoral College and cannot vote for their president.

Constitutional amendments

Puerto Rico sends a high proportion of men and women to serve in the U.S. military. The voting age in the United States was changed to 18 in response to the military draft in the 20th century because many people believed that anyone who served in the military should be able to vote for the Commander in Chief. The 26th Amendment made this change.

Just so, many people believe that residents of Puerto Rico should be able to vote because they serve in the U.S. military. At present, however, residents of Puerto Rico cannot vote for president or vice president even if they serve in the military — which many do.

The 23rd Amendment gave Washington, D.C., a voice in the electoral college even though it is not a State. In theory, Congress could give Puerto Rico a vote in the presidential elections by allowing the territory to send a representative to the Electoral College. This would require a Constitutional amendment.

If Puerto Rico becomes a state, residents would automatically get a vote in presidential elections.

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