Florida Democratic Party Chair: ‘They’re Like Children, These Black Lawmakers’

Stephen Bittel / YouTube
• June 20, 2017 3:35 pm


Florida Democratic Party chairman Stephen Bittel is considering resigning following backlash from racially charged comments he made toward members of the legislative black caucus.

The tension started at a Saturday fundraiser for the Florida Democratic Party, the Miami Herald reports. Bittel shortened the program by removing a segment in which state legislators would be recognized.

Bittel referred to the anger from lawmakers over the snub as "childish." Bittel also said State Sen. Oscar Braynon (D.), a black legislator who expressed lawmakers' unhappiness to the chairman, was acting "like a three year old."

After the dinner, white State Sen. Lauren Book (D.) asked Bittel about the situation.

"They're like children, these black lawmakers. They just don't get it," Bittel said. "I raised more money in this amount of time than they ever could."

Bittel made matters worse for himself by initially accusing the African-American lawmakers of "playing the race card" once they took offense, Politico reports.

"I have much to learn and I am committed to being better and learning from this mistake. I sincerely apologize," Bittel said in a written statement to Politico.

"I am working with Democratic leaders to mend fences, move forward and make our party stronger," he said.

One Democrat close to Bittel said he "is ready to quit if he's asked. He is sorry. And he wants to make amends."

Published under: Democratic Party, Florida, Racism