Gov. Scott Makes Second Awkward 'I Lived In Public Housing' Overture To Black Floridians

December 16, 2011 2:31 pm ET — Salvatore Colleluori

Rep. Eric Cantor

Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) really has trouble learning his lesson. Earlier this year, he invited a group of black Florida legislators over to the Governor's Mansion for lunch. In an effort to relate to them, he suggested that he was just like them because he "started school in public housing" and his "dad had a sixth-grade education."

Yesterday, Scott called for Florida A&M University President James Ammons to be suspended following the death of a drum major at the university, allegedly due to hazing. In protest, several hundred students from the historically black university "marched from campus to the Governor's Mansion." When Scott came out to meet the students, he reportedly started his speech by again referring to his childhood in public housing, which prompted one student to yell out, "We're not poor!" The Miami Herald reported:

Florida A&M students infuriated by Gov. Rick Scott's call for the suspension of President James Ammons marched from campus to the Governor's Mansion late Thursday by the hundreds (if not thousands), demanding Scott rescind his request amid investigations into drum major Robert Champion's death after suspected hazing.

"I would definitely say that he's overstepped his bounds," said Student Senate President Marissa West, 21, after the most heated parts of the protest had passed. "Our Board of Trustees is more than capable of making this decision." [...]

Scott opened his talk by mentioning how he grew up in public housing, leading FAMU student Ciara Taylor, 22, to yell out, "We're not poor!" It was reminiscent of when he told the same story at a luncheon in February with black legislators, implying they had all grown up poor.

"I guess he was trying to make some type of relation to our student body, as if we had lived in public housing," West said, adding she was offended by his comment.

After the first time Gov. Scott made this faux pas, several of the lawmakers at the luncheon expressed dismay at his comments. Too bad he didn't learn his lesson the first time.

(h/t Andy Kroll)

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