‘We certainly understand that some in Spain might want to hold a referendum. […] Other countries have done that as well’, said US State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert
Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, met with US President, Donald Trump, with the intention of getting a statement against the 1st October referendum. However, at the press conference, Trump’s support was rather ambiguous. He said he preferred a “united Spain”, but also predicted that Catalans would oppose the prohibitions imposed by Rajoy to prevent them voting. “I would vote for a united Spain”, he added.
Trumps words were a blow to Spain’s diplomacy, who expected an uncompromising response, as they got from Obama pre-27 September consultation. Shortly after the meeting, the US State Department spokesperson, Heather Nauert, acknowledged that Catalans have a right to vote on their future. ‘We certainly understand that some in Spain might want to hold a referendum. […] Other countries have done that as well’ were her words (minute 21 of the video).
Spokesperson Nauert made this statement when asked whether the US position regarding the1st October referendum was as uncompromising as with the Kurdish referendum, against which she insisted on US opposition. She said the two referendums could not be compared because the Spanish state is not under threat from ISIL terrorism.
Nauert had already made a statement a few weeks ago which also bothered Spanish diplomats: she assured that the US would work with any “government or entity” arising from the 1st October referendum.