President Trump on Monday blasted Puerto Rico's Ricardo Rosselló as "a bad governor" just hours after the leader of the US territory announced he would not seek re-election amid corruption allegations that have led to widespread protests across the island.
Ricardo Rosselló made the announcement Sunday via a brief Facebook video as hundreds of viewers posted angry messages.
Jannice Rivera, a 43-year-old mechanical engineer who lives in Houston but was born and raised in Puerto Rico and flew in exclusively to join the protest, said: "This is just the beginning".
She questioned where all the US financial aid that supposedly poured into the island to help it recover from Hurricane Maria, which caused widespread damage and killed almost 3,000 people, went in the end.
He said he would resign as head of his New Progressive Party (PNP) as well but would remain as governor until the end of his term in January 2021.
A day before a planned general strike and massive street demonstrations in the bankrupt U.S. territory, Ricardo Rossello, 40, said he respected the wishes of Puerto Ricans and would not seek a second term in November 2020 elections.
"They can't deny it: The power is in the street", San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz wrote in a Twitter message on Monday. "I am aware of the dissatisfaction and discomfort you have", he said.
Protesters were not alone in asking him to step down as governor as well out of respect to Puerto Ricans.
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Reuters reported on Wednesday that shipping companies were hiring unarmed security guards for voyages through the Gulf. Iran said the vessel impounded was the same one it towed on Sunday after the ship had sent a distress call.
"Once again: Rosselló must resign", tweeted US Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in response to his video.
The messages included homophobic, misogynistic and sexist comments about his opponents - and even mocked victims of Hurricane Maria.
The speaker of Puerto Rico's house of representatives set up an independent panel on Friday to investigate whether the chats warranted impeachment.
He said he will serve out his term as governor and allow for his successor to be democratically elected.
Rossello also said that he would face impeachment proceedings being studied by the legislature "with all the truth, force and in a responsible manner".
The political turmoil comes at a critical stage in the island's bankruptcy process as it tries to restructure some $120 billion in debt and pension obligations.
It has also raised concerns among United States lawmakers who are weighing the island's requests for billions of federal dollars for healthcare and work to recover from Hurricane Maria, which led to almost 3,000 deaths. On Sunday, the Puerto Rican governor went on Facebook Live to address the concerns of Puerto Ricans.