• The Star Staff

Luis Gutiérrez: Trump thinks Puerto Ricans are stupid

By John McPhaul


Former Illinois congressman Luis Gutiérrez says President Donald Trump’s release of $13 billion to Puerto Rico for infrastructure and schools announced last Friday shows that Trump thinks that Puerto Ricans are too stupid to see that he is trying to buy them off.

“After Hurricane Maria Trump went to Puerto Rico and said Puerto Ricans are lazy and want the government to do everything for them, then he said he wanted to trade Puerto Rico for Greenland, saying Puerto Rico was too poor,” Gutiérrez told the San Juan Daily Star. “Now his giving these $13 billion shows that he thinks Puerto Ricans are stupid.”

No Republican candidate in the past 96 years has won the U.S. presidency without winning Florida. And Puerto Ricans, more than one million of them, could be the voting bloc that decides who wins the state on Nov. 3.

But Democratic presidential candidate Joseph Biden is not likely to visit the island before election day, Gutiérrez said.

“I think it’s all about Florida, Florida, Florida. It’s all about mobilizing support there” said Gutiérrez, who visited the island last week. “There will be plenty of time to visit the island after the election.”

The former Democratic congressman from Puerto Rico said Florida isn’t the only state where the Puerto Rican diaspora could make the difference.

“Puerto Ricans can play a very instrumental role in Pennsylvania,” he said. “There is a very well established Puerto Rican community of hundreds of thousands.”

Biden came out with a program for Puerto Rico last week. First, he said Puerto Rico’s $72 billion debt should be audited.

“We have to find out exactly who benefited from getting us into such a bind,” Gutiérrez said.

Biden also said he would change the composition of the Financial Oversight and Management Board (FOMB).

“Why do we have a law like PROMESA [the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management and Economic Stability Act of 2016] that sets up a fascist economic regime with a board that looks out for the interests of the financial sectors they come from?” the former congressman said.

Biden has promised to put representatives from unions and teachers and other underrepresented sectors on the board, Gutiérrez said.

“PROMESA is absolutely ripe for re-examination. The right of a community to self-govern is at stake,” said Rhode Island Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea, who is of Puerto Rican extraction and is the first Latina elected to state government in Rhode Island. She is also on Biden’s Latino advisory board.

Biden also promised to create a commission on Puerto Rican affairs that reports directly to the White House.

“Biden has laid out a very compelling program to improve infrastructure and housing [on the island],” Gorbea said. “I’m excited that Puerto Rico is finally getting the attention it deserves, generating interest and turning out.”

The Rhode Island secretary of state added that the COVID-19 pandemic is a “gamechanger.”

“The pandemic has allowed us to really broadcast the variety of ways you can vote,” she said.

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