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Puerto Rico Gov. Refuses to Resign Over Homophobic Remarks, Protests

Ricardo Rosello

Puerto Rico’s embattled governor will not resign despite massive demonstrations in the streets of San Juan following the release of homophobic and sexist remarks.

But Ricardo Rosselló says he will not be seeking reelection.

In a lengthy Facebook Live video, Rosselló acknowledged mistakes, though he did not clarify whether that included calling out CBS reporter David Begnaud a “cocksucker” or New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito the Spanish word for “whore.”

He said the thousands chanting for his ouster in Puerto Rico’s capital, throngs that included out Puerto Rican entertainers Ricky Martin and Bad Bunny, were heard.

“To every Puerto Rican man and woman, I have heard you and I hear you today,” he said in Spanish.

Rosselló, a member of the New Progressive Party, faced calls for his resignation from a number of Democratic presidential candidates including Julian Castro, Cory Booker and Elizabeth Warren. Another candidate, Tulsi Gabbard, joined protesters in the streets of Puerto Rico.

Meanwhile, Ronna McDaniel, Republican National Committee chair, lumped Rosselló in another Democratic governor.

“There are now two Democrat governors — in Virginia and Puerto Rico — who are mired in scandal and refusing to resign,” she said. “If they were Republicans, they’d be hounded daily by the media.”

Rosselló first garnered attention in the mainland by defending the Trump administration’s widely panned response to Hurricane Maria. Trump has repeatedly lashed out at Puerto Ricans without electricity who are demanding more assistance.

In addition to recent controversy surrounding internal communications made public, Rosselló’s administration has also faced scrutiny from a federal corruption probe, CBS News reports.

Rosselló has been a staunch advocate of statehood for Puerto Rico, which remains a U.S. territory.

While Rosselló has vowed to serve out his term, he has stepped down from his role as head of Puerto Rico's New Progressive Party. (On a national level, he is affiliated with the Democratic Party.)

"I recognize that apologizing is not sufficient," Rosselló said in his social media video. “Only my work will help restore the trust of these sectors and embark on a real reconciliation."

Meanwhile, Puerto Rico’s House of Representatives has formed an impeachment committee to investigate whether actions should be taken to remove Rosselló from office, CNN reports.

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