United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres, left, and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, right, listen as President Donald Trump speaks during the "Global Call to Action on the World Drug Problem" at the United Nations General Assembly, Monday, Sept. 24, 2018, at U.N. Headquarters. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Trump no statehood for Puerto Rico with critics in office

September 24, 2018 - 7:40 am

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump says he's an "absolute no" on statehood for Puerto Rico while critics, including San Juan's mayor, are in office.

Trump criticized Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, a critic of his administration's response to hurricanes in the U.S. territory last year, in a radio interview with Geraldo Rivera that aired Monday, calling her "incompetent."

Trump pre-taped the interview for Rivera's show on Cleveland's WTAM radio. He says: "Puerto Rico shouldn't be talking about statehood until they get some people that really know what they're doing."

He adds: "With people like that involved in Puerto Rico, I would be an absolute no."

Support for Puerto Rico statehood was in the Republican Party's 2016 platform.

Puerto Rico's government backed estimates that about 3,000 people died due to the 2017 storms.