Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló Resigns Amid Demonstrations Calling For Him To Step Down

WASHINGTON, D.C. - OCTOBER 19: (AFP-OUT) Governor Ricardo Rossello of Puerto Rico attends a meeting with President Donald Trump in the Oval Office at the White House on October 19, 2017 in Washington, D.C. Trump and Rossello spoke about the continuing recovery efforts following Hurricane Maria. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images)

Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló Resigns Amid Demonstrations Calling For Him To Step Down

He announced the decision in a video posted to Facebook.

Published July 25th

Written by Rachel Herron

After facing intense calls to step down by demonstrators, Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló announced his resignation Wednesday (July 24).

Days before he posted a video to Facebook announcing his decision, demonstrators on the island held the largest protest in recent history over several government corruption scandals.

After news of his resignation, which will be effective Aug. 2, crowds in the streets of Puerto Rico chanted, "Ricky, te botamos!" ("Ricky, we threw you out!")

In the video, Rosselló said he worked hard to fight for the well-being of his people on the island.

"My only priority has been the transformation of our island and the well-being of our people," said Rosselló. "The demands have been overwhelming and I've received them with highest degree of humility."

However, for crowds who took to the streets of Puerto Rico for the last two weeks, it was time for Rosselló to step down.

Protests started after 889 pages of private chats between Rosselló and some of his current and former officials were leaked to the press, reported NBC News.

Just before he stepped down, attorneys commissioned by the president of Puerto Rico’s House of Representatives, Carlos Méndez Núñez, reportedly found five offenses that constituted grounds for impeachment.

In a report leaked to NBC News, the attorneys found Rosselló’s offenses included illicitly using public resources and services for partisan purposes as well as allowing government officials and contractors to misuse public funds and time for non-government work.

The leaked chats included profane language, misogynistic and homophobic comments against public officials, and inappropriate comments about the deaths following Hurricane Maria.

Rosselló's resignation came before Puerto Rico’s House of Representatives could hold a meeting Thursday to begin the impeachment process and the island's Justice Department could confiscate the cellphones of several people involved in the various scandals.  

Rosselló is the U.S. commonwealth's first governor to resign.

By law, the island's secretary of state would succeed Rosselló, but no one has been confirmed for that position since Luis G. Rivera Marín, who was part of the chat scandal, submitted his resignation on July 13.

Justice Secretary Wanda Vázquez is next in line.

"Once the resignation is official, if necessary, I will assume the historic mandate that the Constitution of Puerto Rico commends," she said in a statement.

(Photo: Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images)

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