FACT CHECK: Did Ron DeSantis Support Statehood For Puerto Rico?

Joseph Casieri | Fact Check Reporter

Donald Trump Jr. recently shared on social media that then-Congressman Ron DeSantis co-sponsored a bill granting statehood to Puerto Rico.

Verdict: True

DeSantis sponsored a bill in 2018 that would allow for Puerto Rico to receive statehood.

Fact Check:

Former President Donald Trump widened his lead over GOP primary rival DeSantis, The Hill reported. New polls show Trump is ahead by 34 points while 52% of Republicans and right-leaning independents claim that they will most likely support him, opposed to DeSantis’ 18%.

Trump Jr. purported the Republican Florida Governor supported giving statehood to Puerto Rico. The claim was made on X and received over 3,000 retweets.

“Has anyone asked Ron DeSantis why he co-sponsored a bill to give statehood to Puerto Rico? It would almost certainly lead to two new Democrats in the US Senate and a permanent majority for Dems,” Trump Jr. wrote. “Why would any Republican who cares about saving our country support this???”

The claim that DeSantis co-sponsored a bill that would pave the way for Puerto Rico statehood is accurate. Politico reported in 2018, during DeSantis’ Florida gubernatorial campaign, that he supported Puerto Rico Congresswoman Jenniffer Gonzalez-Colon’s bill to make the territory a state. DeSantis was listed with the 58 total co-sponsors of the Puerto Rico Admission Act.

Gonzalez shared a press release on Jun. 27, 2018 introducing the Puerto Rico Admission Act of 2018. The press release featured the names of 34 Congress members that joined as original co-sponsors of the bill, one of which was DeSantis. (RELATED: Joe Biden Embellishes Fire Story In Recent Remarks In Hawaii)

Furthermore, CNN reported at the time that a majority of the original con-sponsors were Republican. Gonzalez pushed for statehood claiming that the citizens of Puerto Rico are not treated as equal to other U.S. citizens. The Republican platform included the statehood of Puerto Rico in 2016 according to The Republican National Committee’s adopted platform. The same stance appears in the 2020 Republican Party platform.

“We support the right of the United States citizens of Puerto Rico to be admitted to the Union as a fully sovereign state,” the platform’s text said, referencing a 2012 referendum that suggested a large majority of citizens on the island supported statehood.

In addition, Trump had stated, during the 2016 presidential camapign, that the “will of the Puerto Rican people in any status referendum should be considered as Congress follows through on any desired change in status for Puerto Rico, including statehood,” according to The New York Times. His position appeared to change in 2018 following a feud with San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz over his handling of the aftermath of hurricanes that hit the island, CBS News reported at the time.

Check Your Fact contacted the DeSantis campaign for confirmation that he supported this bill and to request the Governor’s current stance on the issue. We also contacted the Trump campaign team for comment on the accuracy of this claim and for their stance on statehood for Puerto Rico. We will update this piece if a response is received.

Joseph Casieri

Fact Check Reporter