Gov. Phil Murphy stopped short of calling for Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló’s resignation over a trove of misogynistic and homophobic text messages between the latter and his staffers.
“Assuming that these are in fact associated with him, some of the stuff that was said is completely and utterly unacceptable, but I have to say that’s not my call,” Murphy said. “That’s got to be dealt with by the accepted leadership of the people of Puerto Rico, but it’s pretty abhorrent, if not quite abhorrent, so we shall see.”
Murphy’s refusal to weigh in on Puerto Rico’s progressive Democratic governor is at odds with his quick call for the resignation of Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam five months ago, after photos surfaced showing Northam, also a Democrat, and another person in costume — one wearing blackface and then other in a Ku Klux Klan robe and hood.
Last fall, Murphy also demanded the resignation of Bergen County Sheriff Michael Saudino after he was caught on tape making racist and homophobic comments.
The New Jersey governor has also declined to join in on calls for the resignations of judges facing disciplinary action for inappropriate comments in sexual assault cases.
Rosselló refusal to resign over the messages has spawned protests in Puerto Rico.
Murphy is vice chair of the Democratic Governors Association and will chair the organization next year, when Rosselló is up for re-election.
New Jersey’s governor met with Rosselló during a family trip to Puerto Rico in March. At the time, Murphy pledged additional assistance for the territory’s recovery from Hurricane Maria, which caused billions of dollars in damage and left thousands dead in 2017.