Dignity Project president apologizes to resident commissioner for pregnancy remarks
By The Star Staff
Following universal expressions of opprobrium, Dignity Project (Proyecto Dignidad) President Dr. César Vázquez Muñíz issued a public apology on Wednesday for comments he made about the authenticity of the pregnancy of Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González Colón, who is vying to be the New Progressive Party (NPP) candidate for governor.
“In a radio interview this morning, I asked if the pregnancy of twins announced by Resident Commissioner Jennifer (sic) González was in her person or by surrogacy. This has generated obvious discomfort, both in the Commissioner and in others,” Vázquez Muñíz said in a written statement. “That was not the purpose and therefore I apologize, particularly to Commissioner Jennifer (sic) González and her husband.”
“My wife, children and grandchildren are my greatest treasure,” he added. “From that feeling, I wish with all my heart to the Commissioner, her husband and their families that the pregnancy reaches a happy term and that they can complete their happiness by holding the children in their arms and watching them grow.”
Earlier in the day, González Colón reacted incredulously to Vázquez Muñíz’s previous comments.
“First, I can’t believe what you’re telling me,” González Colón said in a radio interview. “It seems unbelievable to me that at this point they have to question my pregnancy.”
“He lacks dignity and is a charlatan,” the resident commissioner added. “The reason for joy that my family and I have, that I am happy, because I fulfilled a wish that my husband and I had to enlarge our family, which we decided to share with the people of Puerto Rico -- I never thought that a person who calls himself religious would be so angry.”
In a radio interview of his own earlier Wednesday, Vázquez Muñíz questioned whether the pregnancy of the NPP pre-candidate for governor should disqualify her.
“People are shown a sonogram with two babies and people are asking questions, wondering if she is really pregnant or if they [the sonogram images] are [from] another woman,” Vázquez Muñíz said in an interview on WKAQ 580.
“The question I’m asking is whether she is carrying them in her belly or do they go in another woman’s belly,” he added.
In a rare show of unity among the island’s political parties, criticism of Vazquez Muñiz came even from his own political party.
Dignity Project Sen. Joanne Marie Rodríguez Veve censured Vázquez Muñíz on Wednesday.
“The resident commissioner’s pregnancy is a matter of her private life on which no one is called upon to express an opinion,” Rodríguez Veve said on her social networks. “Even if you have decided to share this process publicly. Any opinion or question about a woman’s pregnancy, including those [women] in political life, is inappropriate and should never be part of the political debate. The statements of Dr. César Vázquez are out of place and do not represent Proyecto Dignidad.”
Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia said that, despite the apology, what Vázquez Muñíz, who was the Dignity Project candidate for governor in 2020 and has expressed interest in running for the Senate in next year’s elections, said about the resident commissioner’s pregnancy cannot be erased.
“Well, those statements were a lack of respect for women. Every woman deserves respect,” the governor said in response to questions from the press. “Those statements attacked the dignity of the resident commissioner unnecessarily. They were totally out of line.”
“I think they are very unfortunate statements,” Pierluisi added. “And I think they are going to have an impact on the viability of César Vázquez’s candidacy. If he apologized, then congratulations, but what is said is said.”
Meanwhile, Popular Democratic Party President Jesús Manuel Ortiz González weighed in on the matter on his social networks.
“The statements of Dr. César Vázquez of the Dignity Project are inappropriate and regrettable,” he said. “A woman’s pregnancy is not and cannot be the subject of political attacks. It is up to us to promote the debate of ideas and respect in public discourse. I express my strongest rejection and reiterate my best wishes to the [Resident] Commissioner and her family.”
The NPP minority leader in the island House of Representatives, Carlos “Johnny” Méndez Nuñez, described Vázquez Muñíz’s remarks as “extremely offensive.”
“Today all of Puerto Rico witnessed extremely offensive statements made by the leader of the Dignity Project,” Méndez Nuñez said. “We reject Dr. Vázquez’s comments questioning the resident commissioner’s pregnancy.”
“It’s unfortunate that he takes it out on a pregnant woman, questioning her ability to work and, now, whether it’s real or not,” he added. “Every person must repudiate this type of statement which, in addition to denoting a high degree of insensitivity, also shows great prejudice.”
Also on Wednesday, Wilmer Reyes Berríos, an NPP candidate for the Guayama District seat in the island Senate, called for Vázquez Muñiz to apologize to González Colón “for questioning her pregnancy status.”
“Doctor, we invite you to practice clean politics and stay away from dirty or cheap politics,” the Senate hopeful said in a press release. “Do not seek to highlight your image, in the media, attacking the dignity or integrity of women. Respect the figure of a woman! … Have you already forgotten that you were born of one?”
Reyes Berríos urged people to be very attentive “to the very erratic behavior of this man, who seeks to occupy a seat in the Legislature in January 2025.”
“Dr. César Vázquez Muñiz, his comments, so misguided, leave a lot to be desired,” Reyes Berríos said. “That is, they are embarrassing.”
“You who spend all your time with the Bible up and down, and as a good child of God, who accepts your mistakes, ask Jenniffer González for forgiveness,” he added.