New Hillary Clinton Supporter Refused to Stand for Pledge of Allegiance

Radical NYC city council speaker an outspoken supporter of Puerto Rican terrorists

Melissa Mark-Viverito / AP
September 2, 2015

The latest endorsement for Hillary Clinton comes from a New York City politician who has refused to stand during or recite the Pledge of Allegiance to the United States.

New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, who was born and raised in Puerto Rico and endorsed Clinton on Wednesday, is known for her decision not to stand up during the Pledge of Allegiance as a protest of her home territory’s current status.

Though Mark-Viverito has refused to explicitly state her opposition to pledging allegiance to the United States, her colleagues say it is a symbolic "protest" of the United States.

City Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz, also a Democrat, has said that Mark-Viverito told her that she does not stand because she wants Puerto Rico to be granted independence.

"When I met with her months ago, I asked her why she didn’t pledge to the flag," said Koslowitz. "She told me she wanted Puerto Rico to be independent."

State Sen. Ruben Diaz, a Democrat who is also from Puerto Rico, had harsher words for Mark-Viverito.
"She doesn’t care about America," said Diaz, who added that he believes Mark-Viverito is "a communist from Puerto Rico."

Diaz’ comments came following a 2014 ceremony commemorating the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2011.

Mark-Viverito was the only attendee who chose not to put her hand over her heart during the national anthem, which caught the eye of those who knew Mark-Viverito’s stance on the pledge.

"She goes on sacred ground and disrespects America that way," said Diaz following the incident. "It’s disrespectful to the heroes, the fallen who died on 9/11, it’s disrespectful to the victims and families of 9/11."

Mark-Viverito has defended her refusal to participate in the pledge, claiming that she was "unfamiliar" with it because she grew up in Puerto Rico.

Koslowitz, who has said she convinced Mark-Viverito to begin participating in the pledge, said the "unfamiliar" excuse does not fit for Mark-Viverito.

"She's a very smart woman who has lived in New York a long time," Koslowitz said. "She definitely knows what the Pledge of Allegiance is."

Puerto Ricans in the past have protested their birthplace’s lack of statehood by silently sitting during the Pledge of Allegiance, and have won wide support from others in their community for doing so.

Koslowitz said her discussion about the Pledge of Allegiance with Mark-Viverito was a "very emotional thing for her and for me."

Mark-Viverito supports radical measures for advancing Puerto Rico’s cause. Earlier this year she delivered the eulogy for the convicted terrorist Isabel Rosado Morales, calling her an "icon."

Among other acts, Morales helped to plot a shooting at the United States Congress by four Puerto Ricans that injured four congressmen. Mark-Viverito called Morales, who was sentenced to 17 years in prison for the assassination attempt, "our icon and national patriot."

Morales is also not the only terrorist Mark-Viverito supports.

She continues to work to secure the release of the Puerto Rican terrorist Oscar Lopez Rivera, who is believed to have been behind a 1975 bombing in New York City that killed four.

Rivera was offered a pardon toward the end of Bill Clinton’s second term in the White House, but he refused it due to the pardon’s condition that Rivera would have to renounce terrorism.

The Clinton campaign would not comment on whether it will disclaim Mark-Viverto’s endorsement or whether Mark-Viverto would be used as a surrogate for the campaign.

Mark-Viverto said last month that she is looking to play an "important role" for the Democratic National Committee’s outreach to Latinos in 2016.

"I want to lend my voice to whatever candidates that I decide to support for president," she told Fox News Latino in August.