Puerto Rico governor expected to resign on Wednesday

Puerto Rico governor expected to resign on Wednesday
© Camille Fine

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló is expected to resign on Wednesday, according to multiple reports.

The move comes after thousands took to the streets of San Juan, the U.S. territory’s capital city, over several days of protests and demonstrations calling for Rosselló, 40, to step down amid hundreds of pages of released text messages between him and his top aides that contained homophobic and misogynistic slurs. 

The leaked messages also contained jokes about the victims of Hurricane Maria, which in 2017 devastated the island and its nearly 3.2 million residents. 

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The first-term governor is also under fire for a corruption scandal in which the FBI arrested two former officials, including his former education secretary, Julia Keleher, from his administration as part of its probe into alleged corruption and misappropriation of millions of dollars of federal funds allocated to Puerto Rico after the hurricane.

On Sunday, Rosselló had announced that he would not seek reelection in 2020, but he stopped short of stepping down as the head of the New Progressive Party. 

Several 2020 Democratic presidential candidates and President TrumpDonald John TrumpFlorida GOP lawmaker says he's 'thinking' about impeachment Democrats introduce 'THUG Act' to block funding for G-7 at Trump resort Kurdish group PKK pens open letter rebuking Trump's comparison to ISIS MORE have called on Rosselló to resign. He is expected to offer a farewell announcement that would be broadcast before noon on Wednesday, El Nuevo Día reports.

”The people are talking and I have to listen,” Rosselló tweeted Tuesday. “They have been moments of total reflection and making decisions that are executed according to the concerns of the people of Puerto Rico and their best interests.”

Rosselló is the son of former Puerto Rico governor Pedro Rosselló, and he won the 2016 gubernatorial election with 42 percent of the vote.

His expected replacement is Puerto Rico Secretary of Justice Wanda Vazquez, whom protesters also oppose because of her ties to the current governor.

Several of Rosselló’s aides have already stepped down in light of the scandals, and the governor’s chief of staff submitted his resignation on Tuesday, effective July 31.

"The last few days have been extremely difficult for everyone,” Ricardo Llerandi Cruz wrote. “At this historical juncture it is up to me to take the welfare of my family into consideration. The threats we've received can be tolerated as an individual, but I will never allow them to affect my home.”