Days after mass protests in Puerto Rico ended in violence near the mansion of its embattled governor, Republican Sen. Rick Scott is calling on Ricardo Rosselló to resign.
In a statement issued Friday, the freshman Florida senator said it was clear that “the current leadership has lost the confidence of the people of Puerto Rico.”
“The island deserves new leadership,” he said. “Governor Rosselló should resign.”
Scott, the former Florida governor, campaigned in 2018 as a strong advocate for Puerto Rico. He visited the island several times after Hurricane Maria hit in 2017.
A supporter of statehood for the island, Scott on Friday became the first Florida senator to call for Rosselló to resign. Republican Sen. Marco Rubio said this week he had no opinion on whether Rosselló should step down.
Rosselló, who was in office when the Category 4 Maria killed thousands and exposed Puerto Rico’s obsolete electrical grid, has come under fire after leaked chats showed the governor taking part in profanity-laced and often misogynistic group messages with cabinet members and aides.
Last week, six people with ties to the Rosselló government, including two of his former top administration officials, were arrested by the FBI as part of a corruption probe.
Protests kicked off in Puerto Rico on Saturday and have raged on in the days since. On Wednesday night, the scene turned violent as police in riot gear shot tear gas and rubber bullets into the crowd of tens of thousands of protesters frustrated with the scandals and protracted financial crisis afflicting Puerto Rico.
“While I’ve been hesitant to weigh in too heavily on the internal political affairs of the island,” Scott said Friday, “it’s clear that the current leadership has lost the confidence of the people of Puerto Rico.”
Rosselló said at a press conference Tuesday he would not resign.