Following the recent arrest of top Puerto Rico administration officials on corruption charges and the public release of 900-pages worth of insult- and profanity-laced texts and group chat messages between Gov. Ricardo Rosselló and others in the government, hundreds of thousands of Puerto Ricans have taken to the streets to demand that the Rosselló resign his office immediately.
The governor has thus far refused to resign, however, and only agreed to not to seek re-election in 2020 and to step down as head of his New Progressive Party, but in his first interview since the scandal broke, Rosselló was vigorously taken to task by a hard-hitting series of questions from Fox News host Shepard Smith.
Smith came out firing
Smith wasted no time on pleasantries in the 17-minute interview that left the embattled governor a stammering mess who could barely express his own prepared talking points due to Smith’s unrelenting ferocity.
Cutting right to the chase, Smith noted that there was a near-total bipartisan consensus among U.S. politicians, Puerto Rican politicians, the media, and the Puerto Rican people themselves that Rosselló needed to resign immediately and demanded to know why the governor had decided not to do so.
Rosselló attempted to explain that he still had work to do to address the corruption and financial crisis that has wracked the island for more than a decade, but Smith interrupted to point out that the corruption and fiscal mismanagement had occurred within his own administration.
“Who is left to support you?”
Smith then turned to the scandalous “profanity-laced” texts and group chat messages from Rosselló’s administration that were leaked to the public, which crudely insulted and even threatened local politicians, celebrities, and the Puerto Rican people themselves who had suffered losses in the devastating hurricanes of 2017.
“So attacks on women, attacks on gays, attacks on the dead relatives of your own residents on your own island and after all that, who is left to support you? Is it even safe for you to continue to attempt to govern?” Smith asked.
Rossello replied that he had apologized for the messages but declined to express regret for anything specific, and when pressed later by Smith to name even one individual in all of Puerto Rico who still supported him remaining governor, he nearly failed to do even that, though he eventually named a local mayor.
Time to go
Later, Smith took issue with Rosselló’s characterization of the corruption and scandalous messages as a “mistake” and instead asserted they were a “pattern” of bad behavior while insisting repeatedly that Rosselló needed to apologize “sufficiently” in a more comprehensive manner.
Watch the entire exchange below:
To be sure, Gov. Rosselló and his team have displayed a “cavalier attitude” toward the struggles of their own people and his administration was and is thoroughly corrupt — something President Donald Trump has repeatedly spoken out against over the past couple of years, though his criticisms were angrily dismissed by Democrats and media figures like Smith up until now.
Rosselló’s remaining time in office could very well be shorter than the year and a half left in his term, and this interview with Smith likely only added fuel to the fire of the countless Puerto Ricans demanding he step aside and resign immediately in disgrace.