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Julián Castro calls on Puerto Rico governor to resign
Democratic presidential contender Julián Castro called on embattled Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló (D) to resign, saying "it's clear" that the leader of the U.S. territory "can no longer be effective."
Rosselló has resisted calls to resign as he struggles to cope with a corruption scandal involving former members of his administration and the release of hundreds of pages of messages between him and his top lieutenants that contained homophobic and misogynistic slurs.
"I stand with Puerto Ricans who are protesting in the streets his administration. We've seen comments that he and others in the administration have made, we've seen the use of force against the people of Puerto Rico," Castro told reporters at a campaign stop in Manchester, N.H.
"This governor can no longer be effective and I believe he should resign," added the former Housing and Urban Development secretary.
Two former members of Rosselló's administration were arrested by the FBI earlier this month, accused of directing more than $15 million in government contracts to favored businesses.
Meanwhile, the Puerto Rican Center for Investigative Journalism released a trove of messages exchanged among Rosselló and his closest allies, including at least two Cabinet members, where homophobic and misogynistic slurs were directed at journalists and political rivals.
Rosselló has since apologized repeatedly for his role in the texting scandal. But protests demanding his resignation have rocked San Juan through the week.
An array of public officials, as well as several prominent Puerto Rican public figures, have also demanded Rosselló's resignation.
And Rosselló, who is up for reelection in 2020, has lost much support within his own local party, the New Progressive Party (PNP).
"Reelection is out of the question, out of the question. The party has been clear and has expressed it in an elegant but concise manner," Puerto Rico Senate Majority Leader Carmelo Ríos told The Hill Thursday.
President Trump on Thursday denounced Puerto Rico's leaders as "corrupt" amid the massive protests demanding his resignation.
Puerto Rico's government has been widely criticized for its response to Maria, which left thousands dead and devastated much of the island in 2017. But the Trump administration has also been the target of criticism for its disaster-relief efforts.