Santorum, Romney stake out positions on Puerto Rico’s language

Will Rahn | Senior Editor

A spokesperson for GOP front-runner Mitt Romney tells CNN that the former Massachusetts governor would not require Puerto Rico to adopt English as its official language as a condition for statehood.

Romney was responding to comments made Wednesday by his rival Rick Santorum calling for Puerto Rico to accept English as its “principal language” before becoming a state.

“There are other states with more than one language, like Hawaii, but to be a state of the United States, English must be the principal language,” Santorum said while campaigning in the territory, which will hold its primary this Sunday.

When asked if Romney agreed with Santorum’s comments, his campaign replied with something of a non-answer.

“Governor Romney believes that English is the language of opportunity and supports efforts to expand English proficiency in Puerto Rico and across America,” spokesperson Andrea Saul said in a statement. “However, he would not, as a prerequisite for statehood, require that the people of Puerto Rico cease using Spanish.”

As CNN notes, Santorum never actually called for Puerto Rico “to cease using Spanish,” and instead echoed a position already adopted by 31 states and the U.S. Congress.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has said in the past that the island should adopt English as its official language before becoming a state.

Puerto Rico became an U.S. territory after the Spanish-American War. English is taught at schools but Spanish is the traditional language of the island.

Follow Will on Twitter

Tags : elections mitt romney puerto rico rick santorum
© Copyright 2010 - 2018 | The Daily Caller