On the south side of the Capitol building in San Juan, along the Avenida de la Constitución, there is a collection of life-size bronze statues of U.S. presidents. The Walkway of the Presidents shows the nine presidents who made official visits to Puerto Rico during their presidencies, up to 2010 when the walkway was created.
The walkway does not include President Trump, who also visited Puerto Rico during his presidency. President Trump spent about four hours in Puerto Rico in October 2017, after the Island was hit by Hurricanes Irma and Maria. This visit was about the same length as President Obama’s visit, which is commemorated by a statue.
Apart from President Trump, the walkway has representations of all the presidents, beginning with Teddy Roosevelt, who made official visits. So why is there no statue for Donald Trump?
Funding is needed
In view of the fiscal crisis in Puerto Rico, the government is avoiding all inessential expenditures, including commissioning works of art.
The Republican National Hispanic Assembly of Virginia and the College Republicans of Puerto Rico have taken things into their own hands. They’ve set up a GoFundMe campaign to raise the money needed to build the statue and add it to the walkway. They’re calling their effort “Build 45,” a reference to the fact that Trump is the 45th President of the United States.
The fundraising campaign seeks to raise $45,000. Each statue cost $25,000 in 2010, and the group expects that there will be additional costs involved. $45,000 is also a nice round number that echoes “Build 45.”
Supporters are calling for people from Puerto Rico and across the nation to help provide the resources needed. “It is only fitting,” the GoFundMe call says, “that patriotic citizens, both in Puerto Rico and throughout the United States, unite to contribute the funds necessary to build and inaugurate a statue of President Trump along Puerto Rico’s Walkway of the Presidents.”
So far, they have collected $8,970, including a donation from the US Border Patrol Ramey Station and a donor describing himself as “A Democrat.”
Completing a tourist attraction
With tourism on the rise, completing the Walkway of the Presidents could be a worthwhile investment. The attraction is included in many listings of tourist sites, including Roadside America’s JFK Tourist Guide and TripAdvisor’s “Things to Do in San Juan.”
A plaque at the park explains to visitors, “The people of Puerto Rico honor those who while holding the office of President of the United States were moved to visit the Island and its people.” It continues, “This Walkway of the Presidents has been conceived to honor those who enjoyed our hospitality in the past as well as those who may do so in the future.”
The fundraiser is receiving donations every day. Perhaps the Walkway will have its 10th statue while President Trump is still in office.