Jan 27, 2020

Michael Bloomberg endorses Puerto Rico statehood

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Michael Bloomberg's 2020 campaign released a plan Monday backing statehood for Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory.

Why it matters: Other candidates "have tip-toed around the issue of Puerto Rican statehood, saying they want Puerto Ricans to decide whether or not the U.S. territory becomes the country’s 51st state," the Miami Herald writes.

Details: Bloomberg's plan would fully fund Medicaid and other social safety net programs in Puerto Rico, as well as implement federal tax credits and an audit on the island's debt and restructuring plans.

Where it stands: The former New York Mayor is the third 2020 contender to support the island's statehood, according to the Washington Post.

  • Former tech executive Andrew Yang and former Maryland Rep. John Delaney are the other two, while Joe Biden's position is unclear.

Between the lines: The move is consistent with Bloomberg's non-traditional campaign, which has focused on delegate-rich states and territories, rather than first-in-the-nation contests like Iowa and New Hampshire. Puerto Rico has 51 delegates up for grabs.

What he's saying:

“For decades, Puerto Ricans and their interests have been ignored by Washington. And there’s a simple reason why: They don’t have a vote in Congress. There’s a clear solution to this challenge that a majority of Puerto Ricans support. Most presidential candidates for president have been too afraid to back it. Not me. I’ll state it clearly: I support statehood for Puerto Rico. And as president, I will work to pass a bill making it a reality, subject to approval by the people of Puerto Rico — who will make the ultimate decision.”
— Mike Bloomberg in a press release

Go deeper: Michael Bloomberg on the issues, in under 500 words

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Why it matters: Bloomberg knows it's coming, has rehearsed his retorts, readied ads and policy plans to deflect, and will unleash $1.5 billion more on ads and staff to clean up any damage.

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What she's saying: "I'd like to talk about who we're running against. We're talking about a billionaire who calls women fat broads and horse-faced lesbians. And no, I'm not talking about Donald Trump, I'm talking about Mayor Bloomberg."

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Bloomberg stands by his campaign bus after speaking at an event in Compton Monday. Photo: Scott Varley/MediaNews Group/Torrance Daily Breeze via Getty Images

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Why this matters: While Bloomberg's also seeking the Democratic nomination, he's committed to supporting whoever wins it.