A Florida Republican made a total ass of himself when he decided to go on a racist rant, complaining about “ni**ers,” “b*tches,” and “fucking assholes,” — while speaking to a group of black colleagues.
Miami Republican Sen. Frank Artiles was hanging out at the members-only Governors Club when he decided it was the perfect time to kill his career. Speaking to Sens. Audrey Gibson and Perry Thurston (who both happen to be African-American), Artiles said that Joe Negron had only been elected Senate President because of the “six ni**ers” in the Republican caucus that had elected him.
The discussion began Monday night after Artiles approached Gibson at the Governors Club to suggest that a series of questions he’d asked of one of her bills earlier in the day were payback for questions she’d asked before of one of Artiles’ bills.
At one point, Artiles referred to Gibson as “this fucking asshole” and “this bitch,” Gibson said.
Gibson complained to Thurston, who had been talking to other people at Gibson’s table during the exchange. Thurston asked Artiles if he had in fact referred to Gibson in those terms. Artiles denied it, Thurston said — but urged by Thurston, apologized.
Then, someone else at the table — not an elected official — asked Artiles about another word he’d used in reference to Gibson: “girl.” Artiles said he meant no disrespect.
But when the conversation turned to Senate GOP leadership, Artiles used the n-word.
“He said, ‘If it wasn’t for these six ni**ers,’” Gibson said. By way of explanation, he added, “‘I’m from Hialeah,’” she said.
No longer able to tolerate Artile’s bigotry, Gibson left the conversation and did not return. Thurston then confronted Artiles about using the n-word, but the racist senator explained that it was all okay because he had said “nigga,” not “ni**er.”
“I said, ‘Dude, did you say ‘ni**ers?’” Thurston recounted. “‘No, I said ‘niggas,’” which is different in his mind.”
Thurston urged Artiles to apologize to Gibson, and even set up a time for him to do so on Tuesday morning, but Artiles was a no-show. Senate Minority Leader Oscar Braynon and Negron were both eventually made aware of the incident. Finally, on Tuesday evening, Republican Senate President Bill Galvano escorted Artiles to apologize for his racist rant.
Shortly before the apology took place, Gibson said that an apology from him would be “meaningless” anyway.
“You’re just talking — loud — to a table of people about leadership. It made me sad,” she said. “I can’t remember a time in my life when anybody called me either one of those things,” she added, speaking of the two insults he hurled at her. “It’s just the most disrespect I’ve ever encountered.”