Jul 20, 2019

Puerto Rico Gov. Rosselló's scandals threaten recovery from Hurricane Maria

Protesters demonstrate against Rosselló along a street leading to the governor's mansion on July 20. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

2020 candidates Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and former HUD secretary Julián Castro called for Puerto Rican Gov. Ricardo Rosselló to resign on Friday, while Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez echoed the call on Saturday.

Why it matters: Puerto Rico, which declared bankruptcy in 2017 amid "the biggest government financial collapse in United States history," is still struggling to recover from Hurricane Maria. Rosselló has said he won't resign, but his political power has already diminished — putting the island's long-term recovery in further jeopardy as his scandals outweigh efforts to rebuild.

What's happening: Leaked Telegram chats from the past year show that Rosselló made misogynistic and homophobic jokes with other officials, mocked Hurricane Maria victims, and joked about shooting San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz. The chats also included "sensitive government issues" with people in the private sector who no longer work in Rosselló's administration, CNN reports.

Between the lines: Puerto Rico has been an early campaign hotspot for 2020 candidates like Warren and Castro, despite the fact that Puerto Ricans cannot ultimately vote for the next U.S. president. Candidates are eager to contrast their rhetoric around Puerto Rico against Trump's. Gabbard flew to Puerto Rico on Saturday to join protests against Rosselló.

The bottom line, per the NYT: Rosselló and the 11 other men involved in the leaked chat "have been ordered to turn over their cellphones to Puerto Rico’s Department of Justice. The governor has maintained that there was no illegal activity taking place in the chat."

Go deeper: Puerto Rican protestors met with tear gas in mass rallies against Gov. Rosselló

Go deeper

Wanda Vázquez sworn in as Puerto Rico's new governor amid political chaos

Pedro Pierluisi speaks before the Puerto Rican House of Representatives, Aug. 2. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Puerto Rico's Supreme Court overturned former acting Secretary of State Pedro Pierluisi's status as governor on Wednesday, AP reports.

The latest: Wanda Vázquez, Puerto Rico's justice secretary, was sworn in on Wednesday as the island's third governor in less than a week. She is Puerto Rico's second female governor and the territory's second unelected governor in 70 years, per NBC. Vázquez has previously said "she doesn’t want the position," per Vox, "and protesters have threatened to kick her out too."

Go deeperArrowUpdated Aug 7, 2019

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló names successor

Pedro Pierluisi speaks before the Puerto Rican House of Representatives on August 2. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Former congressional representative Pedro Pierluisi will be sworn in as Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló's replacement, according to a statement from Rosselló's office obtained by the AP on Friday.

What's happening: Pierluisi was confirmed by the Puerto Rican House of Representatives as the territory's secretary of state on Friday, per the AP. Rosselló's office claims that Pierluisi does not need confirmation from the territory's House and Senate to be the next governor, as he's been named secretary of state. However, legal battles over Rosselló's successor are still possible.

Go deeperArrowAug 2, 2019

Hundreds of thousands fill streets of Puerto Rico as governor refuses to resign

An aerial view from a drone shows thousands of people as they fill the Expreso Las Américas highway calling for the ouster of Gov. Ricardo A. Rosselló. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Hundreds of thousands of Puerto Ricans filled the streets of San Juan Monday demanding the resignation of Gov. Ricardo Rosselló, who said on Sunday that he would not step down even as his government has become engulfed in scandal.

Catch up quick: Leaked text messages revealed Rosselló and members of his inner circles making sexist and homophobic comments and mocking victims of Hurricane Maria, a disaster that killed thousands and caused the longest electrical blackout in U.S. history. The leak came just days after a separate incident, in which the FBI arrested two officials from Rosselló's administration for mishandling government contracts worth millions of dollars.

Go deeperArrowJul 22, 2019