“When one side speaks legitimately, the other has the responsibility to listen carefully,” Rossello said in a statement. “The people are speaking and I have to listen. These have been moments of complete reflection and of taking decisions based on the concerns of the people of Puerto Rico and of their best interests.”
As thousands of protesters again gathered in the streets for demonstrations, Rossello said his future statements will focus on the actions his government carries out.
A number of officials have resigned in connection with a texting scandal that was revealed earlier this month, the latest being Rossello’s chief of staff Ricardo Llerandi who announced his resignation on Tuesday citing threats against his family.
Meanwhile a judge has issued search warrants for the phones of Rossello and 11 of his political allies.
The public fury erupted when the island’s Center for Investigative Journalism published nearly 900 pages of online group chats between Rossello and several top aides and associates that included profane messages laced with contempt for victims of 2017’s Hurricane Maria, as well as misogynistic and homophobic slurs against Rossello’s political opponents.
The publication of the chats unleashed long-simmering anger among Puerto Ricans who were worn down by years of public corruption and mismanagement that left the U.S. territory under the control of a congressionally-mandated oversight board to guide it out of a multi-billion-dollar debt crisis.
Rossello stepped down as leader of the New Progressive Party during a televised address Sunday and said he would not seek re-election in 2020.
U.S. President Donald Trump slammed Rossello Monday for his “totally grossly incompetent leadership” of Puerto Rico. Trump clashed with Rossello and other Puerto Rican officials over the administration’s response to Hurricane Maria, which killed 3,000 people and left the island without power for months.