Despite long-standing assurances from the State Department that the U.S. would take no stance on the upcoming Catalonia referendum, President Trump couldn't help himself while hosting Spain's Prime Minister, loudly endorsing Spanish unity.
President Trump said Tuesday that the United States opposes an independence drive in the Spanish region of Catalonia, telling reporters that such secession would be "foolish".
Thousands of Catalan separatists are rallying in public squares in Barcelona and other towns in support of a disputed referendum on independence of the northeastern region from Spain.
Catalonia's prosecutor has ordered the regional police - known as the Mossos d'Esquadra - to take control of any voting booths by Saturday, a spokesman for the Madrid government's Catalan delegation said.
Spanish authorities want the names of officials running polling stations at schools and civic buildings, with a view to prosecuting them.
"I would like to think that the faux pas [remarks of Sanders and Nauert] is only due to ignorance", said Ruperez, "Otherwise, we might be taken to believe that the American Government is contemplating favorably the breaking up of the territorial integrity of one of the U.S.'s closest allies and friends".
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Police have seized almost 10 million ballots for the vote and have closed down 59 websites that provide information about the referendum.
As reported by Bloomberg, Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has vowed to use all the legal means necessary to ensure the Catalans don't go to the polls on October 1 after Spain's top court ruled that their plans are unconstitutional.
As a controversial referendum on the independence of Catalonia draws near, the Spanish government has expanded efforts to shut it down, even blocking access to some websites.
Madrid argues that the referendum is illegal as it goes against the Constitution.
Madrid has also threatened fines against bureaucrats working on the ballot, including the region's election commission, which was dissolved last week.
It has sent out notifications to people planning to man polling booths spread across the region, the parliamentary spokeswoman for the separatist Junts pel Si party said on Tuesday. "They are excluding half the population", Dastis said.