Trump has a less than stellar history with Puerto Rico, most notably in his disastrous response to Hurricane Maria, which all but leveled the island. Video of him throwing paper towels at desperate Puerto Ricans will probably follow him around for the rest of his life.
Nevertheless, Trump devoted part of his Orlando rally speech on Monday to extolling how great a president he's been to Puerto Ricans and insisting they "better vote for" him in November.
There are many problems with the premise, but one of them is far more substantial than the others and really stands out as particularly insurmountable: Puerto Ricans who live in Puerto Rico don't get to vote in federal elections.
Trump is devoting part of his speech to Puerto Rico. He says, "I'm not gonna say the best, but I'm just about the b… https://t.co/ixn2GKmEbw— Daniel Dale (@Daniel Dale)1602545259.0
Puerto Rico does not get to vote because it is not a state, but rather an unincorporated U.S. territory.
In fact, the island has no representation in the federal government at all, beyond a non-voting advisory seat in the House of Representatives. Despite this, residents of the island still pay most federal taxes that mainland citizens pay.
Many believe that this secondary and unrepresented status contributed to Donald Trump's neglect of the island in the wake of Hurricane Maria in 2017, the death toll of which is still not known with certainty due to a lack of resources provided by the U.S. government and Trump administration in the aftermath.
There have been many calls for Puerto Rico to be granted statehood over the years, and the GOP has even included the concept in its 2020 political platform.
But party leaders have widely opposed it on the assumption that its population would vote overwhelmingly for Democratic candidates. They're probably correct: In 2016, more than twice as many people voted in the island's Democratic presidential primary as its Republican primary.
Regardless of whether Puerto Rico gets to vote for president in the future, it won't get to in 2020--and people on Twitter couldn't help but laugh at the President's ignorance.
@ddale8 NO ONE TELL HIM. Let him spend ALL the campaign's money (that doesn't end up in his own pocket) on advertising in Puerto Rico.— Chris (@Chris)1602545999.0
@ddale8 Puerto Rico's response: https://t.co/foWnmSGdso— Arrest Breonna Taylor's Killers (Erika With a K) (@Arrest Breonna Taylor's Killers (Erika With a K))1602555245.0
@Heathfeath45 @ddale8 It would make my month if I found out Republicans are running ads in Puerto Rico.— Eternally Sleepless (@Eternally Sleepless)1602545367.0
@ddale8 he is so proudly dumb.— Michael Buckley #BLM | Vote for Biden! (@Michael Buckley #BLM | Vote for Biden!)1602545319.0
trump just said he was the "best thing that ever happened to Puerto Rico" after throwing paper towels at them, blam… https://t.co/206zBo0C4a— BrooklynDad_Defiant! (@BrooklynDad_Defiant!)1602545100.0
@HKrassenstein As someone who lived in PR during Irma and Maria, I can safely tell you Puerto Ricans think he is a… https://t.co/GnGfAZx64K— octopi_hi (@octopi_hi)1602545535.0
And many Puerto Ricans who do live on the mainland and are able to vote were very vocal about their intentions to vote for his opponent.
@ddale8 Puertorricans living in the states CAN vote, and as a puertorrican in AZ, I can't wait to vote him out. 🇵🇷— NaviWolf 🏳️🌈✊🏾🇵🇷 (@NaviWolf 🏳️🌈✊🏾🇵🇷)1602545391.0
@ddale8 I am a 🇵🇷 here in Florida and I voted #BidenHarris. Trump has done nothing for our beautiful island of 3 pl… https://t.co/qcEl3x7zLb— Cecilia Cintron (@Cecilia Cintron)1602545812.0
@Lilith571 @ddale8 Same here!! I stood in line in Georgia yesterday to vote Trump out!! Straight Blue up and down… https://t.co/Y7p2Tp3qpJ— Jonathan Cueto (@Jonathan Cueto)1602586229.0
Looking on the bright side, at least Trump didn't call Puerto Rico "dirty" and "poor" and try to swap it for Greenland, as he reportedly proposed in 2018.