Fact Check

Did Trump Tweet This About Puerto Rico?

President Donald Trump has called the U.S. territory “one of the most corrupt places on Earth.”

Published Jul 8, 2020

 (esfera / Shutterstock.com)
Image Via esfera / Shutterstock.com
President Donald Trump disparaged the Puerto Rican governor and statehood movement, tweeting that Puerto Rico was "a small island filled with savages."

In May 2020, Puerto Rico Governor Wanda Vázquez announced the scheduling of a plebiscite in November on the issue of whether that U.S. territory should become a state. However, such a possibility remains unlikely during the presidency of Donald Trump, who has previously expressed that he is an “absolute no” on Puerto Rican statehood.

As The Washington Post observed, Trump has long been feuding with that territory's government officials, whom he has branded as "corrupt" and "incompetent":

President Trump lashed out at Puerto Rico and its politicians, calling the U.S. territory “one of the most corrupt places on earth” as it braced for the arrival of Tropical Storm Dorian with near-hurricane force.

“Their political system is broken and their politicians are either Incompetent or Corrupt,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “Congress approved Billions of Dollars last time, more than anyplace else has ever gotten, and it is sent to Crooked Pols. No good!”

Trump continued a feud with San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz Soto, deriding the leader of the island’s largest city as “incompetent” in a morning tweet.

“We are tracking closely tropical storm Dorian as it heads, as usual, to Puerto Rico,” Trump wrote. “FEMA and all others are ready, and will do a great job. When they do, let them know it, and give them a big Thank You — Not like last time. That includes from the incompetent Mayor of San Juan!”

These events led to the circulation of a purported tweet from Trump in which he excoriated Governor Vázquez as "incompetent," and disparaged Puerto Rico as "a small island filled with savages," adding that "There are more chances of me moving to North Korea than Puerto Rico becoming a state":

This was not an authentic Trump tweet, however: It does not appear in the timeline of his Twitter account, nor was it recorded by any of the several databases that preserve deleted tweets. And if there were any lingering doubts, the watermark for the satirical "Puerto Rico Departamento de Memes" visible on the tweet image should be a giveaway.


Ballantyne, Jett.   "Puerto Rico Looks to Solve Status Issue with New Statehood Vote."     Pasquines.   11 June 2020.

Wagner, John.   "Trump an ‘Absolute No’ on Puerto Rico Statehood Because of San Juan’s ‘Horror Show’ of a Mayor."     The Washington Post.   24 September 2018.

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.