Senate President Joe Negron failed. The Florida Senate failed. Florida Republicans failed. With a silly slap on the wrist, they are simply tolerating a member of the senate using the harshest of racist words - nigger.
Republican Senator Frank Artiles stood on the Senate floor Wednesday and read a scripted apology. Negron removed him as committee chairman and considers that punishment enough.
Artiles blew it by not resigning.
Negron blew it by not moving to expel him.
Now, Artiles should not resign. He should face the humiliation of being tossed out of the Senate.
Here is what happened according to the Miami Herald's Patricia Mazzei:
Miami Republican Sen. Frank Artiles dropped the n-word to a pair of African-American colleagues in private conversation Monday night — after calling one of them a "f------ a------," a "b----" and a "girl," the two senators said.
Over drinks after 10 p.m. at the members-only Governors Club just steps from the state Capitol, Artiles told Sens. Audrey Gibson of Jacksonville and Perry Thurston of Fort Lauderdale that Senate President Joe Negron of Stuart had risen to his powerful GOP leadership role because "six n-----rs" in the Republican caucus had elected him.
Artiles later told Gibson and Thurston that he'd used the word "n----as," suggesting the slang term was not meant to be insulting, Gibson and Thurston said. It's unclear whom Artiles was referring to, since the only black senators in the state Senate are all Democrats — and none of them backed Negron's bid to lead the chamber.
Artiles apologized to Gibson late Tuesday afternoon, after he'd been reported to Republican leaders and reporters started asking questions.
It is important to note that Artiles did not attempt to apologize until he was caught.
He even told the Herald he has no intention of resigning and plans to run for reelection in 2018.
Basically, Artiles was offering a FU to the Senate and his constituents.
The members of the Black Caucus are calling for Artiles to be ousted.
Negron should move quickly to do so.
This is not the first time that Artiles has acted like a bully. This is not the first time that he has harmed the reputation of the Senate. This is not first time that he has insulted others.
Peter Schorsch - in a must read column about Artiles - reports:
A lobbyist, who shall remain unnamed, said it was reported to him after he left the Governors Club that same night that Artiles called him and another person who works in the Capitol “faggots.”
That’s according to two friends of the lobbyist, who told him of the exchange later in the evening. The lobbyist then told me.
This issue is no longer about Artiles. This issues falls squarely in the lap of the Senate President and the entire Senate.
And frankly, perhaps it is time for Gov. Rick Scott to stand up and speak out.
Florida is better than this.
Or are we?