More than a dozen officials have already resigned since the chats were leaked, and prior to Rosselló announcing his own departure, lawmakers made threats of impeachment.
Puerto Rico’s House of Representatives is now considering going through the impeachment process anyway, as its president told the Radio Isla station Thursday that he has doubts that Rosselló will keep his word.
Justice Secretary Wanda Vázquez is the person in line to assume Rosselló’s post, taking over more than halfway through Rosselló’s four-year term and becoming Puerto Rico’s second female governor.
The upheaval comes as the island tries to restructure part of $70 billion in debt and cope with a 13-year recession that has led to an exodus of nearly half a million people to the U.S. mainland in the past decade. Many Puerto Ricans are resentful over the resulting pension cuts, school closings and other austerity measures.
The economic crisis is in part a result of previous administrations — including that of Rosselló’s father, Pedro — that overspent, overestimated revenue and borrowed millions as the island sank deeper into debt. In 2017, Puerto Rico filed for the equivalent of bankruptcy. Congress approved a financial package, and a federal board is overseeing the island’s finances.
Rosselló spent much of his time as governor fighting austerity measures and seeking federal funds after Maria devastated the island in September 2017, causing thousands of deaths and more than $100 billion in damage.
But nearly two years later, some 30,000 homes still have tarp roofs, power outages remain common, and Puerto Rico has received less than a third of the roughly $40 billion pledged by the U.S. government.
Fox News’ Bryan Llenas, Brie Stimson, Danielle Wallace and the Associated Press contributed to this report.