It didn’t take long for newly-minted Sen. Frank Artiles to misbehave now, did it?
It shouldn’t take this long for him to resign.
A known bully and hothead who punched a college kid in the face at a bar and who wants to kill a Florida black bear, Artiles was in the news again Tuesday after a group of African-American colleagues said he had used the n-word with them and had insulted one of them in multiple other ways, calling her “bitch,” “girl,” and referring to himself as “a fucking assohole.”
At least he got one thing right.
Ladra is not surprised that this happened. She’s only surprised it didn’t happen sooner. Artiles is not only a little more aggressive than some people, he’s a magnet for bad news — from the time he was caught by Ladra living outside of his district as a state represenative to last year, when he proposed some hateful anti LGBT bathroom policing bill.
This item, however, might do him in. At least for now.
It happened at the members-only Governors Club near the Capitol building, just after 10 p.m. and “over drinks,” as first reported in the Miami Herald. So maybe he was under the influence. Sometimes, one’s true colors are revealed when one’s inhibitions are removed. Artiles approahced Sens. Audrey Gibson (D-Jacksonville) and Perry Thurston (D- Fort Lauderdale) and told them that Senate President Joe Negron (D-Stuart) had only gotten to his powerful position because of “six niggers” who voted for him.
“Say what,” one of them sorta said, recoiling at the n-word, and confused because he must have been talking about white Republicans. “Niggas,” Artiles clarified, because the slang version is supposed to make it okay. He said in his half-assed apology Wednesday that he comes from a diverse area where, one would suppose, that is common. He’s my senator, in my district, and I don’t think so.
And you didn’t say it like “my niggas,” Frankie boy. You said it like “those niggas.” Not the same. And you’re not a 17-year-old who wants to sound like Kanye West. You’re a senator, now. Or were.
Because he also called a fellow senator a “girl” and a “bitch” in what was, by all accounts, a political tirade, it is no surprise that Democrats statewide immediately called for his resignation, as they should, and not only because it would cause a special election and a chance for them to win back a seat in the post Donald Trump America that has become a blue promise. SAVE demanded his resignation on Wednesday, seizing on the momentum to get rid of one of their biggest enemies in Tallahasee.
But that’s just gravy. Artiles should resign because former State Rep. Ralph Arza was forced to resign after he left several threatening voice mail messages with racial slurs on the phone of former State Rep. Gus Barreiro. Artiles should resign because the Florida Senate is no place for that kind of language, no matter how sorry you are about getting caught. Artiles should resign because Gibson and Thurston — indeed, any black legislator — should not be forced to work with someone who made such remarks.
It seems an affront to Gibson, in particular, to force her to confront her bully every day.
Former state rep and current Miami-Dade School Board Member Dorothy Bendross-Mindingall said “it would be impossible for me to sit in a room to create laws that impact our community with someone that has neither regard or respect for those who make those laws with him.
“As lawmakers, we make laws for men, women, children, Blacks, Hispanics, Whites, and others who come from all corners of the world,” Bendross-Mindingall said in a statement. “A person who is not respectful to all is not fit to make laws for them, neither should anyone be subjected to sit on a dais with such an individual.”
Lastly and perhaps the least, Artiles should also resign because staying in office will only hurt the Republican Party, serving as a constant reminder of how racist the GOP has become that it would tolerate this talk from one of their own.
Where are the Republicans calling for his resignation? Negron stripped Artiles of his chairmanship of the Senate’s Committee on Communications, Energy, and Public Utilities. But he didn’t call for his resignation. Negron said that he apologized and that should be the end of it. And Artiles — who waged a supremely negative campaign against a black Democrat last year — scoffed, saying that he was soon running for re-election.
Are you kidding me? I don’t think so. Artiles sorry-not-sorry apology — reading off remarks most likely prepared by someone else — was hardly as heartfelt as his insults. Ladra is surprised that some ambitious Republican with county or state or federal hopes hasn’t come out to lead the GOP rejection. Sen. Anitere Flores? Are you watching this? Do you want people to remember your silence?
Artiles would be smart to resign and quietly work to make amends. He’s a young guy and Miami is a city with acute political amnesia. Arza is now a successful campaign consultant and lobbyist. And former State Sen. Al Gutman, who pleaded guilty to fraudulently billing Medicare and resigned from the legisulature in 1999, owns the quite awesome and successful Cuban Crafters the cigar shop and bar on Northwest 7th Street.
Hey, maybe they can start a club there.