A controversy is brewing in Puerto Rico ahead of the territory’s GOP presidential primary on Sunday.
Rick Santorum campaigned there this week, and was asked whether he would support statehood for the Island. Santorum was quoted in the local newspaper “El Vocero” saying “Like any other state, there has to be compliance with this and any other federal law, and that is that English has to be the principal language. There are other states with more than one language such as Hawaii but to be a state of the United States, English has to be the principal language.”
Santorum says he was misquoted. A camera caught his exact quote, which was a bit more nuanced.
“What I said is English has to be learned as a language and has to be a country where English is widely used and spoken…obviously Spanish is going to be spoken here on the island, but this needs to be a bilingual country.”
Then yesterday, there was more back and forth from Romney, where he initially softened his stance but then doubled down on his original statement.
Mitt Romney’s campaign sent out their response, saying “Puerto Rico currently recognizes both English and Spanish as the official languages of the commonwealth. Governor Romney believes that English is the language of opportunity and supports efforts to expand English proficiency in Puerto Rico and across America. However, he would not, as a prerequisite for statehood, require that the people of Puerto Rico cease using Spanish.”
Puerto Rico’s Republican Governor Luis Fortuño talks with Soledad this morning, to ask for his response to the candidate’s statement about his island protectorate. He tells Soledad that Puerto Ricans are proud to be American, and as a Romney supporter he believes that Mitt Romney will respect the will of the Puerto Rican people.
Fortuño: We’re proud to be Americans
Fortuño: Romney respects will of people