Florida’s legislature is in turmoil over Republican Sen. Frank Artiles dropping the N-word to Black colleagues in a private conversation and using other profanities about fellow lawmakers, the Miami Herald reports.

 

From The Herald:

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 ni**ers” in the Republican caucus had elected him.

Artiles later told Gibson and Thurston that he’d used the word “ni**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 after getting reported to Republican leaders and the media found out about the incident.

“In an exchange with a colleague of mine in the Senate, I unfortunately let my temper get the best of me. There is no excuse for the exchange that occurred and I have apologized to my Senate colleagues and regret the incident profusely,” he said in a statement.

The Republican Senate president was largely silent about the explosive situation until he felt pressured to address it publicly, the newspaper said.

“Racial slurs and profane, sexist insults have no place in conversation between senators and will not be tolerated while I am serving as Senate president,” Negron said, according to The Herald. He added that Artiles will apologize to Gibson Wednesday on the Senate floor.

Meanwhile, the Florida Democratic Party called on Artiles to resign, and the legislature’s Democratic Black Caucus scheduled an emergency meeting.

SOURCE:  Miami Herald

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