Gabbard arrives in Puerto Rico to 'show support' amid street protests

Gabbard arrives in Puerto Rico to 'show support' amid street protests
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White House hopeful Rep. Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardGabbard hits DNC over poll criteria for debates The Hill's Morning Report: How will Trump be received at G-7? Gabbard, Steyer inch toward making third Democratic debate 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.

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“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 SandersGabbard hits DNC over poll criteria for debates The Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic field begins to shrink ahead of critical stretch Keystone XL Pipeline gets nod from Nebraska Supreme Court MORE (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenGabbard hits DNC over poll criteria for debates The Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic field begins to shrink ahead of critical stretch Keystone XL Pipeline gets nod from Nebraska Supreme Court MORE (D-Mass.). Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian CastroJulian CastroHarris to appear in CNN climate town hall after backlash Castro qualifies for next Democratic primary debates Castro releases animal welfare plan as part of presidential campaign MORE, who made his first campaign trip to the territory this cycle, called on Rosselló to resign Friday.