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Puerto Rico Governor Called NYC Official a 'Whore'

Ricardo Rossello apologizes
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 12, 2019 12:00 PM CDT
Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello holds a press conference in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on Thursday.   (AP Photo/Carlos Giusti)
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(Newser) – Puerto Rico's governor apologized Thursday for profanity-laced comments he made in a private chat to describe a former New York City government official and a federal control board overseeing the island's finances. Ricardo Rosselló said he was working 18-hour days and releasing tensions when he called former New York City Council speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito the Spanish word for "whore" and in English told the board "go f--- yourself" followed by a string of emojis with the middle finger raised, per the AP. "None of this justifies the words I've written," he said in reference to excerpts from a private chat extracted from a messaging system used by government officials that were published by local media. "My apologies to all the people I have offended." The comments drew the ire of many Puerto Ricans, including some who demanded his resignation.

Rosselló vowed to stay in office but said he had not yet spoken to Mark-Viverito, who described his behavior as "completely unacceptable" in a tweet. "A person who uses that language against a woman ... should not govern Puerto Rico," she said. In the chat, Rosselló wrote that he was upset Mark-Viverito had criticized Tom Perez, chair of the Democratic National Committee, for supporting statehood for Puerto Rico. Rosselló said the entire chat, which has not been released publicly, has since been erased and that he does not know who leaked part of it. He spoke a day after FBI agents arrested Julia Keleher, Puerto Rico's former education secretary, and five other people on charges of steering federal money to unqualified, politically connected contractors.

(Read more Puerto Rico stories.)

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