After getting in some early jabs in about Donald Trump’s tariff threats on France for their wine (Trump said that he thinks American wines just look better), John Oliver dug into the text scandal and resignation of Ricardo Rossello, the Governor of Puerto Rico, on HBO’s Last Week Tonight.
This week, Rossello said that he would be stepping down from his post as governor, which was big news for Puerto Rico. Oliver showed footage of citizens of Puerto Rico celebrating with joy as the announcement was made.
“Holy sh*t — it does not bode well for your political career when people are reacting to your resignation like Oprah just gave them a new car,” joked Oliver.
He added that the resignation is a historic moment considering all that Puerto Rico has been through. He points out that “Puerto Rico has endured decades of systemic corruption, a massive debt crisis, tripling austerity measures, inadequate response to Hurricane Maria and a high profile probe that saw two former top government officials arrested this month.”
The resignation came after 900 pages of a group chat in which Rossello was part of were released. The text chain included personal attacks on rival politicians as well as sexist and homophobic comments.
“It was very, very bad,” Oliver emphasized. In the 900 pages, Rossello called a female adversary a “whore” and at one point, he responded to someone mentioning that they wanted to shoot the mayor of San Juan saying it would be doing him a favor. But the worst comment was a tasteless joke about the dead bodies accumulating during and after Hurricane Maria at an understaffed morgue.
Needless to say, it is understandable that Puerto Ricans wanted him out — none more than a protestor Oliver loved who simply said about Rossello: “Nah brah, you’re not fit to be governor — OUT!” Afterward, Oliver joked that he said he wanted to see the protestor as the next Bachelorette.
Oliver continued to drag Rossello by showing footage of an interview he had with Fox News’s Shepard Smith, who asked him to name his supporters. Rossello clearly struggled to answer the question as Shepard pressed him until he uttered the name Javier Jimenez, mayor of San Sebastian, as a supporter.
“That was excruciating,” Oliver said of the clip. “He took so long to come up with a name you might think he made Javier Jimenez up!”
Well, it turns out that Jimenez is, in fact, real, but it doesn’t seem like he’s on the same page as Rossello. After the Fox News interview, Jimenez released a video saying that he did not support Rossello at all.
“It’s still not clear what happens next,” said Oliver. “Puerto Rico’s future is unclear.” He adds that the Secretary of State was next in line for the post, but he was also in the scandalous group chat and resigned. After him is the Secretary of Justice who is too close to Rossello and she said she didn’t want the job.
Despite the unknown future, Oliver said the people of Puerto Rico are “incredibly optimistic.” He showed footage of hopeful citizens and then said that Rossello inadvertently accomplished something. “By being such a spectacular sh**head Rossello ended up uniting Puerto Rico in hating him — and that’s an incredible achievement!
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