Embattled Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló wants conversation with Trump

Embattled Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló told Fox News on Tuesday that he wants a conversation with President Trump, saying he disagreed with Trump’s claim that he is a “terrible governor.”

Rosselló made the comments in an interview with Jeff Paul, his second one-on-one interview since the emergence of allegations that he's corrupt and that he insulted the people of Puerto Rico, including victims of Hurricane Maria.

His request for a “conversation” with the president came one day after Trump told reporters in the Oval Office, “The governor is not good.”

“The U.S. gave Puerto Rico $92 billion and it’s in the hands of terrible and corrupt people. …You have grossly incompetent leadership,” Trump said on Monday.

Governor Rosselló wants a chat with President Trump 

Governor Rosselló wants a chat with President Trump  (The Associated Press)

The governor, a Democrat and member of the territory's New Progressive Party (PNP), told Paul on Tuesday, “I would love to have a conversation with him [Trump] as we did in the onset of the recovery.”

When Paul asked Rosselló if he feels like he’s not a good governor, he answered: “I've worked very hard and my record is there. I don't think it's time to showcase that record. We're dealing here with a problem and with a crisis.

“But certainly as I had a conversation or several conversations with him before, I would value the opportunity to have a conversation to let him know what we what we are doing.”

Of Trump, he said, "I know that the president in the past has had conversations that has had differences with other leaders, world leaders for example. And he has given an opportunity to have a conversation with them. And by my experience or by what I've seen in many of those instances things have changed. So I would champion a conversation. I would hopefully present what is our path forward.”

Riot control units patrol the street during clashes in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on Monday.

Riot control units patrol the street during clashes in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on Monday. (AP Photo / Carlos Giusti)

The comments come two days after Rosselló announced that he would not seek re-election, his response to the corruption allegations that have led to widespread protests across the island and on the mainland U.S. The governor, however, has so far refused to give in to demands by protesters for him to step down from his post.

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Rosselló dug in his heels late Monday after what seemed to have been the biggest protest the island has seen in nearly two decades. He told Fox News that he has already apologized and made amends following the leak of an offensive, obscenity-laden online chat among him and his advisers that helped trigger the crisis.

Asked by Paul if he would ever consider resignation, the governor said, “I've made the consideration where I will always do what's in the best interest of the people of Puerto Rico and I've made the consideration where, you know, I'm not going to seek office again.”

Demonstrators affected by tear gas thrown by the police run during clashes in San Juan on Monday.

Demonstrators affected by tear gas thrown by the police run during clashes in San Juan on Monday. (AP Photo/Carlos Giusti)

And what if the protests turn violent? “I’m hopeful," he said, "that these demonstrations will continue to be peaceful.”

“That is my call. We will hear the people, we will sit down with them, we will have conversations. I think there needs to be a place where we can see and say things have been hurtful and see what the path forward [is] and once we have that conversation, again, I am willing to take all those recommendations at hand.”

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Many Puerto Ricans have been calling for Rosselló’s resignation after the leaked online chats showed him insulting women, homosexuals and political opponents, not to mention victims of Maria.

Clashes between demonstrators and riot control units.

Clashes between demonstrators and riot control units. (AP Photo/Carlos Giusti)

Puerto Rico’s Center for Investigative Journalism earlier this month published nearly 900 pages of private messages.

In one message, Rosselló called one New York female politician of Puerto Rican descent a “w---e” and described another as a “daughter of a b---h.” One chat included vulgar references to Latin pop star Ricky Martin’s homosexuality.

On Tuesday, Puerto Rico’s Department of Justice confirmed to Fox News that search warrants have been issued in the investigation into Rosselló and 11 of his aides as officials in the U.S. territory look into whether any criminal or ethical crimes were committed in the so-called “Chatgate” controversy.

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The Associated Press said one warrants asserted that government officials allegedly violated ethics laws by using the chat to transmit official and confidential information to private citizens. 

Fox News’ Andrew O’Reilly, Melissa Chrise and The Associated Press contributed to this report.