White House hopeful Rep. Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardProgressives breathe sigh of relief after Afghan withdrawal Hillicon Valley: US has made progress on cyber but more needed, report says | Democrat urges changes for 'problematic' crypto language in infrastructure bill | Facebook may be forced to unwind Giphy acquisition YouTube rival Rumble strikes deals with Tulsi Gabbard, Glenn Greenwald MORE (D-Hawaii) arrived in Puerto Rico Friday as protests rock the territory, making her the first 2020 candidate to visit since demonstrators began marching against the governor.
Gabbard said she went to the island to “show support” for protesters who are calling for the resignation of Gov. Ricardo Rosselló (D) over allegations of corruption and leaked text messages circulated among his inner circle containing misogynistic and homophobic slurs.
“I’m here today to stand with and show support for my fellow Americans in Puerto Rico in their stand against corruption, and against a government that has proven it is of, by and for the rich and powerful, leaving the people behind,” Gabbard said in a press release.
“These protests are about more than offensive language in leaked chats. They’re about more than Governor Ricardo Rosselló and his associates’ elitist attitudes. They’re about rampant corruption within Puerto Rico’s government that pretends to serve the interests of its people but instead exploits them, over and over again for profits and power. It is this blatant corruption that undermines people's faith in our democracy, our country and our values.”
Gabbard also called on the Democratic Party and the other two dozen presidential contenders to call for “this corrupt administration headed by Governor Rossello step down.”
Rosselló has so far resisted calls to resign, instead offering apologies as he tries to govern through the scandal engulfing the island.
The controversy was sparked when two former members of Rosselló's administration were arrested by the FBI earlier this month over allegations they directed more than $15 million in government contracts to favored businesses.
The Puerto Rican Center for Investigative Journalism released the trove of messages among Rosselló and his closest allies, including at least two Cabinet members, that hammered journalists and political rivals.
Several other White House contenders have expressed support for Puerto Rican protesters, including top-tier contenders Sens. Bernie SandersBernie SandersIn Washington, the road almost never taken Don't let partisan politics impede Texas' economic recovery The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Democrats argue price before policy amid scramble MORE (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenIn Washington, the road almost never taken Senate poised to battle over Biden's pick of big bank critic Treasury says more rental aid is reaching tenants, preventing evictions MORE (D-Mass.). Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian CastroJulian CastroJulian Castro knocks Biden administration over refugee policy Biden calls on Congress to extend eviction ban with days until expiration Cruz trolled on Twitter for slamming Democrats who fled Texas MORE, who made his first campaign trip to the territory this cycle, called on Rosselló to resign Friday.