Friday, November 24, 2017
Politics

Romano: Artiles' conduct is unbecoming of a senator and a gentleman

RECOMMENDED READING


Honor, they say, is the bedrock of their character. It is the quality, to quote the U.S. Marine Corps website, that empowers Marines to exemplify the ultimate in ethical and moral behavior.

Clearly, Sen. Frank Artiles skipped that part of his military training.

For I see no honor in how Artiles has behaved in recent days. Not in his insults directed toward a female senator, nor in his reluctance to apologize until it became clear that he had no other choice.

• • •

Integrity, they say, is an uncompromising code to be followed. Along with never cheating, stealing or lying, it is a Marine's duty to always respect human dignity.

Sadly, Sen. Frank Artiles did not take this code to heart.

RELATED: Sen. Frank Artiles apologizes on the Senate floor for racial slur, profanity

For there is no integrity in calling the Senate President "a p----" behind his back, nor is there integrity in berating a half-dozen fellow senators with racially charged slang.

• • •

Commitment, they say, promotes the highest order of discipline. It is the ingredient, the Corps' website says, that instills dedication, pride and concern for others 24 hours a day, and establishes the Marine as a citizen others strive to emulate.

Surely, Sen. Frank Artiles falls short in this regard.

RELATED: Secret 2014 recording caught Frank Artiles using 'hajis' slur

For those who would defend him have been curiously quiet, as if there is no indication that his behavior this week is, in any way, out of character.

• • •

You might suggest that it is unfair to hold Artiles to the high standards of the U.S. Marine Corps. I would argue that Artiles has often implied that he holds himself to those standards.

The south Florida senator even brought up his military service on the Senate floor on Wednesday when he spent three minutes asking for forgiveness after not apologizing during the previous 36 hours.

This is the man who witnesses said sucker punched a college student in the face in a Tallahassee bar a couple of years ago. Artiles denied the charges at the time, and then boasted that if he punched anyone in the face they would be in a hospital.

This is the man who accepted freebies from a utility company and donned one of its jackets at the Daytona International Speedway, and then said it had nothing to do with him fast-tracking legislation written by that utility company. The bill allows these regulated monopolies to charge ratepayers — and make a guaranteed profit at our expense — for their gas exploration gambles.

So, yeah, I think it's fair to point out the incongruity of his behavior and principles with the exacting standards set by generations of Marines. And it's fair to wonder if others feel he has brought some tiny measure of dishonor to such an esteemed institution.

Already, there are those who are calling for Artiles to resign from the Senate, including the Florida Legislative Black Caucus and this newspaper's editorial board.

Based on his language, you might even make the case that Artiles is racist.

Instead, I contend only that he is a bully.

That he uses his authority and power to ridicule and intimidate others. That he gets away with intolerance and ignorance by claiming to be blunt and uncompromising.

Should he resign?

In a perverse way, I hope he chooses to remain defiant and continues his planned 2018 reelection campaign. For I would rather he face his own shortcomings every time he shows up in a Senate committee or every time he faces voters back home.

They say once you become a Marine, you will always be a Marine. That's a lofty and honorable ideal. And it should require equally lofty and honorable conduct.

Comments
Hillsborough Democrats have everything going for them except history

Hillsborough Democrats have everything going for them except history

TAMPA — For 15 years, Republicans have held a majority of seats on the Hillsborough County Commission.It’s the longest stretch one party has controlled the board since a corruption scandal expanded the body to seven members in 1985.But all five Repub...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Flynn may be moving to cooperate with Mueller’s Russia probe

Flynn may be moving to cooperate with Mueller’s Russia probe

WASHINGTON — In a move that could signal cooperation with the government, lawyers for former national security adviser Michael Flynn have told President Donald Trump’s lawyers that they are no longer communicating with them about special counsel Robe...
Published: 11/24/17
Trump wants to end welfare as Bill Clinton knows it

Trump wants to end welfare as Bill Clinton knows it

WASHINGTON — Overhauling welfare was one of the defining goals of Bill Clinton’s presidency, starting with a campaign promise to "end welfare as we know it," continuing with a bitter policy fight and producing change that remains hotly debated 20 yea...
Published: 11/24/17
President Trump presents his report card, passes with flying colors

President Trump presents his report card, passes with flying colors

PALM BEACH — President Donald Trump has a Thanksgiving Day message for the nation: Look at all I’ve done. Trump is telling followers in an early-morning holiday tweet that, "your Country is starting to do really well." He says: Jobs are "coming back,...
Published: 11/23/17
As rules change, many Florida immigrants face a choice: Do they stay or go?

As rules change, many Florida immigrants face a choice: Do they stay or go?

Lys Isma was born in Haiti, but she’s used to driving in Miami with a license, going to college and living without fear of being deported.The Florida International University biology student has lived in Florida since she was 9 months old. Undocument...
Published: 11/22/17

Top Trump staffers failed to file financial reports on their way out the door

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s top aides — including chief of staff Reince Priebus and foreign policy adviser Sebastian Gorka — failed to file legally required financial reports after they were dismissed this summer, according to government re...
Published: 11/22/17
William March: Lee says lieutenant governor should work for a living and get a vote

William March: Lee says lieutenant governor should work for a living and get a vote

It’s an old joke that Florida’s lieutenant governor, with no duties specified in the state Constitution except to fill in if the governor is disabled or dies, has little to do except monitor the governor’s health. State Sen. Tom Lee, R-Thonotosassa, ...
Published: 11/22/17
Trump calls father of freed UCLA player an ‘ungrateful fool’

Trump calls father of freed UCLA player an ‘ungrateful fool’

Associated PressPALM BEACH — President Donald Trump started off his first day of Thanksgiving vacation by resuming his taunts of the father of a UCLA basketball player detained for shoplifting in China, saying Wednesday that he was an "ungrateful foo...
Published: 11/22/17
Trump speaks up for Moore, warns against his ‘liberal’ rival

Trump speaks up for Moore, warns against his ‘liberal’ rival

WASHINGTON — Silent for more than a week, President Donald Trump all but endorsed embattled Alabama Republican Senate nominee Roy Moore, discounting the sexual assault allegations against him and insisting repeatedly that voters must not support Moor...
Published: 11/22/17
Trump offers support for Moore in Alabama Senate race despite misconduct allegations

Trump offers support for Moore in Alabama Senate race despite misconduct allegations

WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump on Tuesday appeared to offer support to Republican candidate Roy Moore in the Alabama Senate race, saying the former state judge "totally denies" allegations that he sexually molested underage girls years ago."He d...
Published: 11/21/17