In a new interview with the New York Post this week, President Donald Trump was explicit about a core Republican belief that the party usually likes to keep quiet.
Asked whether D.C. should become a state, Trump dismissed the idea outright. The reason?
It would elect Democrats to Congress.
"D.C. will never be a state," Trump told The Post. "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."
As the paper noted, the city's population is comparable in size to the states of Alaska, Vermont, and Wyoming — all of which get two senators. Many Democrats and voting rights advocates have argued that making D.C. and Puerto Rico states could help offset the Senate's conservative bias. But it does this by allowing more Americans to have representation in Congress rather than denying it to them, as Trump's position requires.
Republicans usually avoid making this argument so explicitly. Instead, they'll defend D.C. residents' disenfranchisement by citing tradition or claiming that representation for the city somehow creates a conflict of interest in the federal government. But these excuses are paper-thin — it's clear that the real objection is rooted in partisan politics.
It's also important to note that this disenfranchisement has a distinctly racist feature. Almost half of the district's population is black.
"They want to do that so they pick up two automatic Democrat — you know, it's 100 percent Democrat, basically — so why would the Republicans ever do that?" Trump told the Post. "That'll never happen unless we have some very, very stupid Republicans around that I don't think you do. You understand that, right?"