Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello revealed Sunday he will not pursue re-election in 2020 and will abandon his post as leader of the New Progressive Party.

Puerto Rico Governor Update

However, Rossello will not resign as governor, despite huge protests calling for him to step down amid a corruption scandal involving offensive text messages exchanged between members of his administration. The texts included homophobic and misogynistic comments about political rivals and journalists.

“A huge portion of the population is unhappy and I recognize it,” Rosselló said. “I’ve heard you, I love the island and people. … Today I have the responsibility to direct my strengths to try to find alternatives so that with God we may be able to move forward.”

Protests rocked both the streets of San Juan — where police reportedly used tear gas to dispel locals who were throwing objects — and New York City, which is home to a huge Puerto Rican population.

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Several Democratic lawmakers, including many 2020 presidential candidates, also demanded Rossello resign amid the controversy.

Earlier this year, the FBI arrested two former Rossello administration officials over allegations that they gave more than $15 million in government contracts to favored businesses.

The Center for Investigative Journalism published almost 900 pages of leaked messages from Rossello’s private chat group. One of the messages included a distasteful joke about the casualties of Hurricane Maria, which struck Puerto Rico in late 2017. Puerto Rico’s Justice Department issued summonses to everyone included in the group chat.


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