The recent disclosure of private chat logs involving Puerto Rican Democratic Governor Ricardo Rossello has brought condemnation from across the political spectrum and sparked massive protests. Calls for his resignation have been coming at a furious pace, including a couple from Democratic 2020 candidates. Thus far, all the Governor has managed to do is promise not to run for another term and to step down as the head of his political party. That doesn’t seem to be enough to satisfy the angry masses in the streets, however, and one of the biggest protests yet is planned for today. (CNN)
Thousands of Puerto Ricans won’t rest until embattled Gov. Ricardo Rosselló resigns and they are prepared to fill the streets of San Juan Monday morning for another massive protest.
His announcement Sunday that he will not run for reelection next year and is resigning as the president of the New Progressive Party was not enough. Rosselló’s refusal to step down was like benzene for a crowd already ablaze.
Organizers say they’re expecting hundreds of thousands of people at Monday’s protest.
Will these protests continue long enough to eventually drive Rossello from office? Perhaps, but he does have one recent example set by a fellow Democrat in the lower 48 to draw upon. Remember Virginia Governor Ralph Northam (D)? Not that long ago, the guy who has picked up the nickname of “Coonman Blackface” was facing a similar tidal wave of calls to step down. He just refused to do it, issued an apology of sorts, and waited until the media circus moved on.
That’s almost the exact set of steps Rossello is taking so far. “I have made mistakes and I have apologized,” he said. “I am a good man who has a great love for my island and for everyone.”
Mistakes… he’s made a few. (To paraphrase a line from Sinatra.) As Ed noted last week, Rossello was already being investigated and lived under a cloud of suspicion of governmental corruption. Federal funds flowing into Puerto Rico mysteriously failed to make it out to the people designated as needing help. Some of his close allies and business partners seem to have done remarkably well for themselves. As I said… questions have been raised.
But it’s the leaked group chat logs that seem to have finally added the straw that broke the camel’s back. The Governor was found to be making fun of the victims of Hurrican Maria as well as making seriously sexist comments about various women. Perhaps the topping on the cake was a joke (or at least we can hope it was a joke) about wanted to hire someone to murder the Mayor of San Juan. This guy has been laughing all the way to the bank at the expense of his own people, but thus far remains immune to calls for his resignation.