Confronted by a group of angry Florida A&M students outside his home on Thursday night, Florida Governor Rick Scott (R) attempted to generate some empathy by telling the mostly black crowd that he grew up in public housing.
The students were protesting the governor’s call for James Ammons, president of Florida A&M, to be suspended following the hazing death of one of the school’s students.
Students from the school, which has a mostly black constituency, showed up on Scott’s lawn to let him know they weren’t happy with his decision. Scott, who’d just arrived back from a trip to Israel, reportedly came out wearing sweatpants and offered to address the crowd.
“The white guv bizarrely attempted to quell the mostly black crowd by beginning his speech with some version of: ‘Hey, I grew up in public housing,’” the Miami New Times explained. “To which students protested, ‘We’re not poor!’”
He ultimately reinforced his decision, telling students that he would not rescind the call for Ammons’ suspension.
It might not have been called out as sounding racist if Scott hadn’t tried that very same approach with a group of black lawmakers in February.
“I grew up probably in the same situation as you guys,” he said to a collection of black Democrats. “I started school in public housing. My dad had a sixth-grade education.”
The comments led to Scott being booted from the luncheon.
(H/T: Mother Jones)