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The Student News Site of Loyola University Maryland

The Greyhound

    Ben Carson Endorses Puerto Rican Statehood
    Photo courtesy of Reuters photographer Alvin Baez

    On Sunday, Nov. 8, at Island Rally, Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson expressed he would be “delighted” for Puerto Rico to become the 51st State of the United States.

    “In a Carson administration, I will leave no stone unturned in my efforts to secure this important step in Puerto Rico’s history – establishing Estado 51,” said Carson.

    Carson spoke enthusiastically to a crowd of 3,500 gathered to hear Puerto Rican gubernatorial candidate in Puerto Rico’s pro-statehood party, Ricky Rosselló. Electrifying an already enthusiastic crowd with his pro-statehood declarations, Carson credited Puerto Rican patriotism towards the United States as commendable and for having contributed to American patriotism as a whole, particularly through the participation of its people in the nation’s army. He claimed that the U.S. is in need of a greater sense of unity, with “the Chinese already coming in and infiltrating the Caribbean” and “global jihadists who are trying to destroy us.”

    Carson mentioned Puerto Rico’s location near Cuba as “very strategic” for military defense before quickly transitioning to telling stories of the “extremely friendly people” he has met in his visits to the island.

    “Mis hermanos Americanos, my campaign is built around the premise of ‘We the People,’ and through such lens, I view the statehood question in Puerto Rico as settled,” said the 64-year-old retired neurosurgeon.

    Carson addressed Puerto Rico’s crippling debt of $72 billion by claiming that the debts will get “much better” if we begin treating them as part of our nation.  

    Carson is not the only Republican candidate who has advocated statehood for Puerto Rico to boost campaign support. Candidates Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush have also endorsed this. U.S. presidential candidates have begun including Puerto Rico in their itinerary because Puerto Ricans, although unable to participate in general elections, are legally able to vote in presidential primaries. Carson’s visit to the island was viewed as an attempt to promote his agenda.

    It was rumored that Carson was not invited to speak, but that he pushed for the opportunity during the days preceding the rally. Rosselló is a Democrat, and his running mate is a Republican who supports Bush, making Carson’s decision to speak at this rally a rather unusual campaign move.

    Puerto Rican voters have never voted in the majority for statehood. They are currently citizens of the United States, however they only pay Social Security and Medicare taxes to the federal government, and not  federal income taxes.
    Business Insider, NBC, CNN, and The Huffington Post have contributed to this post.

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    Ben Carson Endorses Puerto Rican Statehood