Puerto Rico’s governor announced he would resign following mass protests over corruption allegations and offensive leaked chats about hurricane victims, political opponents and even supporters.
Normally, the secretary of state would succeed Gov. Ricardo Rosselló, per Puerto Rico’s constitution. But Luis Gerardo Rivera Marín also resigned over his role in the leaked online messages, one of more than a dozen officials felled along with Rosselló. Next up was Justice Secretary Wanda Vázquez Garced.
But Vázquez Garced tweeted Sunday afternoon that she doesn’t want the job.
Rosselló still has time to negotiate a new secretary of state appointment with others in his New Progressive Party before Aug. 2, when he has said he will step down. Vázquez Garced said she has told Rosselló that she hopes he submits a candidate for the position before then.
Vázquez Garced’s announcement turning down the position came as Puerto Ricans had begun to rally against her and as #WandaRenuncia (“Resign, Wanda”) trended preemptively on Twitter. Spray-painted messages protesting Vázquez Garced quickly covered up old graffiti calling for Rosselló’s ouster in San Juan.
As The Washington Post’s Arelis R. Hernandez reported Friday:
"Vázquez Garced is deeply distrusted, dogged by accusations that she has mishandled prosecution of members of her own party, the pro-statehood New Progressive Party.
She faced fresh allegations of misdeeds from Puerto Rican news outlets on Thursday.
‘The interpretation given to these issues is false and defamatory,’ she said in a statement."
The justice secretary had said earlier that she was prepared to become governor “if necessary.”
Rosselló, the 40-year-old son of a former governor, became the U.S. territory’s first to step down in modern history after revelations that he had used obscenities and insults in chats with other officials. He called women politicians slurs like “whore” and “daughter of a bitch,” ridiculed an overweight man he took a photo with and joked about someone shooting the female mayor of San Juan, among other disparaging comments.
Thousands of Puerto Ricans took to the streets to demand the Democrat step down despite the governor’s apology for what he called “inappropriate” messages.