President Donald Trump claimed that Washington, D.C. would never be granted statehood because it would mean more Democratic lawmakers in Congress, and Republicans wouldn’t allow it.
Speaking to The New York Post in the Oval Office on May 4, Trump said “D.C. will never be a state,” in response to a question regarding the District’s statehood bid.
“You mean District of Columbia, a state? Why? So we can have two more Democratic — Democrat senators and five more congressmen? No, thank you. That’ll never happen,” the president was quoted as saying by The Post’s Steven Nelson and Ebony Bowden.
Trump explicitly says he and Republicans are against DC statehood for political reasons:
"You mean District of Columbia, a state? Why? So we can have two more Democratic — Democrat senators and five more congressmen? No thank you. That’ll never happen.”https://t.co/OtulBesgji
— Will Steakin (@wsteaks) May 5, 2020
Trump hadn’t openly shared his opinion on the District of Columbia’s statehood since he came to power. However, during his election campaign as the frontrunner for the Republican Party’s 2016 presidential nomination five years ago, he had said he would support “whatever is best” for D.C. residents, including full statehood.
“I would like to do whatever is good for the District of Columbia because I love the people. You know, it’s funny. I’ve really gotten to know the people, the representatives, and the mayor, and everybody. They’re really special people. They’re great. And they have a great feeling,” Trump had said at the time.
With its population of over 700,000, the nation’s capital pays more federal taxes per capita than any state and has more residents than two U.S. states. It also has a higher per capita gross domestic product than any state. Yet D.C. residents have no vote in Congress.
In February 2020, a House committee — the Committee on Oversight and Reform — voted to pass landmark legislation that would make the District the 51st state of the country.
The proposal was approved in a 21-16 party-line vote, marking the first vote in Congress in almost three decades regarding the issue. The next stop for the bill is the House floor, and then the Republican-controlled Senate.