Another day, another Florida Democratic Party official saying something racist, xenophobic, or otherwise offensive. Loose, extremely stupid lips have already gotten several Florida Democratic officials in trouble this year: Party Chair Stephen Bittel called the Democratic Black Caucus "children," and the party's second-in-command, Sally Boynton Brown, was taped saying poor people don't understand issues enough to vote rationally.
Now, a party chair in North Florida has attacked a Latino party volunteer from Miami for being Latino, and accused him of not being an American citizen.
The trouble started when the Miami volunteer, Ernesto Medina, questioned Arizona Sen. John McCain's legacy as an American hero in the wake of his brain-cancer diagnosis this week.
"John McCain is sick, and that's unfortunate," Medina wrote. But, he added, "Hero and a patriot, questionable." [sic]
Obviously, a brain-cancer diagnosis is probably not the time to trash a politician's voting record. But Angela McNeil Roberts, the chair of Florida's Washington County Democratic Party, skipped debating Medina on the merits of his point and instead attacked him for his nationality.
"SHAME ON YOU FOR SOMEONE WHO IS NOT A REGISTERED DEMOCRATIC VOTER (I AM ASSUMING SINCE YOU REFUSED TO ANSWER THE QUESTION), I suspect not a citizen of our country," Roberts shouted at Medina. After castigating him for questioning McCain's legacy, she then asked, "For someone here on a student or work visa,
Medina is an American citizen.
"Yes, I'm just gonna let your xenophobic comments speak for themselves. Actually, [address redacted] is where I live so you can call ICE on me," Medina responded. "I'll be there at 6:30 tomorrow and don't plan on leaving during the weekend."
Via phone, Roberts said she'd apologized to Medina and "did not know why" she questioned whether he was or was not an American citizen.
"I don’t know why I did that," she said. "I don't know why. I was on that train of, are you a registered Democrat?" She added that she was just being "Facebook shitty."
Asked what that meant, she responded, "You know how, sometimes, you just go off on people on Facebook?"
Roberts' bio online reads, "I AM A PROUD DEMOCRAT, I BELIEVE IN LBGTQ and WOMEN'S EQUALITY, I LOVE MY COUNTRY AND FAMILY."
Via phone, she said she had no problem with Medina personally but was frustrated by his opinions.
"I like Ernesto, I don’t have a problem with Ernesto," she said. "I don’t know Ernesto well. He is from that
Predictably, other party members started chiming in online and demanding Roberts apologize for her comments or resign from a party that claims to oppose racism.
"Ernesto is outspoken and controversial at times, but he's incredibly intelligent and knows how to form his own opinion," one commenter wrote. "He's also a voting American citizen. You have every right to disagree with him as I sometimes do but how dare you assume he's not a citizen."
As Roberts continued to double-down and not simply write "I apologize," fellow Miami Democrat Tomas Kennedy tagged party executives Bittel and Boynton Brown to alert them of the feud.
"Tag them I have no problem with my statement and just because you call me xenophobic, I don't accept that for myself," Roberts responded.
Other commenters pointed out that this isn't the first time Roberts has insulted a nonwhite person online.
"You look like a little bitch so who cares what you think," Roberts once tweeted at a
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After people started pointing out that Roberts had a penchant for attacking people online (she also trolled porn star Jenna Jameson and said "
"I just tried to call Ernesto actually to have a conversation," Roberts wrote. "I have said I was sorry
Speaking to New Times via phone, Roberts said she's quickly realizing that her post might have been racially offensive. She said it made her "very sad" to be singled out online for her comments.
"I’m a chair in a very small community, in a very small town," she said. "I'm proud of the work I do on behalf of the Democratic Party. I work hard. This is not how I want to be perceived. It's not how I perceive myself. Certainly, I think I’m learning to shut the damn mouth. I don’t know."