March 12, 2016

Statement from CNMI Governor Ralph DLG Torres

"For more than a year, Republican leaders from all the territories have discussed how best to approach the Republican Party Presidential election in 2016. The decision made at the time was to coalesce around the candidate that put forward the best and most realistic plan for the Territories and Commonwealths.  For too many years we have been courted for our votes in the primary season but forgotten in the general election.

The CNMI has had visits from four different Presidential Campaigns over the past year. At the time, only Dr. Ben Carson had put together a plan which acknowledged that we have been ignored and suffer inequalities. Carson pledged to appoint a special assistant in the White House directly responsible for the Territories and Commonwealths. This person would compliment the office of Insular Affairs and their core function. Additionally, Carson would appoint a Territory and Commonwealth Advisory Council that would include representatives from each Territory and Commonwealth. This council would identify federal inconsistencies with regard to our islands and put together a package of proposals to correct them.

Dr. Carson unfortunately suspended his campaign and endorsed Donald Trump a few days ago. At this point, I was made aware that Donald Trump not only supported Dr Carson's plan for the Territories and Commonwealth -- he adopted it!

After hearing nothing from any of the other candidates running for President, I made a decision to support the candidate who genuinely put forward a plan to help all the Territories and Commonwealths and recognizes that WE are ALL Americans.

On Saturday and in my personal capacity, I endorsed Donald Trump as the Republican candidate for President.

By the same token, I extend my congratulations to the CNMI Democratic Party for holding a successful and peaceful caucus Saturday evening. 

Because we may prefer different candidates, I encourage that we respect each other's rightful decisions and refrain from negative attacks on one another. Thank you very much."