Ex-wife of California Governor Gavin Newsom and now ardent Trump supporter and fund-raiser, Kimberly Guilfoyle spoke at the Republican National Convention on opening night. She endorsed Donald Trump and attacked Joe Biden. Although that is not surprising, Guilfoyle's explanation of her "immigrant roots" was.
Guilfoyle implied that her Puerto Rican mother was an immigrant and that she was the daughter of immigrants. She called herself a first-generation American, referencing her parents' places of origin: "My mother Mercedes was a special education teacher from Aguadilla, Puerto Rico. My father, also an immigrant, came to this nation in pursuit of the American dream."
The same night, Cuban immigrant Maximo Alvarez railed against the Fidel Castro-like Biden/Harris Democratic ticket. Allowing Guilfoyle and Alvarez to speak at the convention clearly were attempts to send a more positive message about President Trump and immigration than that found in his policies, such as family separation, the new public charge rule, asylum restrictions, DACA rescission, etc.
The Hill reports that Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) panned Guilfoyle's immigration story. "The woman the GOP picked as their 'proud' Latina to tout 'immigrant experience' didn’t seem to know that Puerto Rico is already part of the United States," Ocasio-Cortez wrote on Twitter.
Guilfoyle's comments about her immigrant family were poorly received among some Puerto Ricans, as the territory's inhabitants are U.S. citizens. The title of this commentary reveals the sensitivities: "If you don’t know by now that Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens, you’re not ignorant. You’re racist" by Helen Ubiñas.
Puerto Rico became a U.S. territory after the 1898 Spanish-American War; its residents have been U.S. citizens since 1917. History.com offers a short explanation of how that came to be.
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