After Dropping N-Word And Cursing Black Colleague, FL GOPer Resigns

Steve Cannon/FR127919 AP

A Florida lawmaker has resigned days after using the n-word in front of two of his black colleagues in the state senate, and calling one of them a “bitch” and “girl.”

“My actions and my presence in government is now a distraction to my colleagues, the legislative process, and the citizens of our great State,” Sen. Frank Artiles (R) wrote in a letter Friday. “I am responsible and I am accountable and effective immediately, I am resigning from the Florida State Senate.”

The Miami Herald first reported that on Monday, Artiles told two black colleagues over drinks at the Governors Club in Tallahassee that the Florida Senate president had only been elected due to “six niggers” in his caucus. He also called one of the colleagues, Sen. Audrey Gibson (D), “this fucking asshole” and “this bitch.”

The Florida Democratic Party and several lawmakers immediately called for Artiles’ resignation, though no Republicans joined them at first.

“That’s a decision he’s going to have to make,” Florida GOP Chairman Rep. Blaise Ingoglia told Politico Tuesday, referring to the possibility of Artiles resigning. “It’s not my job as chair to say what somebody should or should not do.”

Artiles apologized on the Senate floor Wednesday morning. But shortly afterward, Sen. Perry Thurston (D), the other colleague at the Governors Club Monday night, filed a formal complaint on behalf of the state’s Legislative Black Caucus seeking his expulsion, the Herald reported, calling the remarks the latest in Artiles’ well-known history of racist remarks. Artiles was also stripped of a committee chairmanship.

Still, according the paper, the senator was defiant. He hired an aggressive lawyer to defend him in the Senate’s investigation of his actions and vowed Wednesday to file for and win re-election in 2018.

By Thursday, 4,000 people had signed two petitions calling for his resignation, according to the Miami New Times. El Nuevo Herald covered protesters outside his Kendall office.

On Friday, in the final two weeks of the state’s annual legislative session, Artiles resigned.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matt Shuham is a news writer for TPM. He was previously assistant editor of The National Memo and managing editor of the Harvard Political Review. He is available by email at mshuham@talkingpointsmemo.com and on Twitter @mattshuham.

LIKE US ON FACEBOOK