CHIPLEY - Washington County Democratic Executive Committee Chair Angela Roberts resigned from her post Monday after a war of words erupted on social media between Roberts and Ernesto Medina, a Miami volunteer for the state's Democratic party, and made state news.
The incident began after Roberts responded to a post Medina made referencing Arizona Senator John McCain's brain diagnosis that called into question whether McCain - who spent more than five years as a prisoner of war during his time of military service to the U.S. - should be considered an American hero.
"John McCain is sick, and that's unfortunate," wrote Medina. "Hero and a patriot, questionable…"
Roberts, who states she was offended by the suggestion someone who spend time as a POW would not be considered a patriot, responded with a post that questioned Medina's citizenship. Medina is a Hispanic American.
"Shame on you, for someone who is not a registered democratic voter (I am assuming since you refused to answer the question. I suspect you are not a citizen of our country," posted Roberts. "Your posted is [expletive]. Even though I don't agree with every bit of [McCain's] view point, I certainly know he was and is a public servant to respect. He has stood up to his elect on our behalf. He served our country with distinction, and the years he suffered on our behalf is immeasurable."
"Why the hell are you so hell bent on destroying the Dem party?" she continued. "For someone here on a student or work visa, you're working hard, bur for who? What's your payoff? I hope you are willing to volunteer for your precinct grass roots work after the primary for our candidates. Your jaw flapping doesn't hold a candle to the importance of that work."
The pair continued to banter, with others joining in and some party members calling for Roberts to apologize.
Roberts did issue an apology Monday, stating her intent was not to offend anyone.
"I was appalled by a McCain comment and while defending his American Hero status, I offended people," stated Roberts. "I am very sorry, and it was not my intention. I will be resigning my volunteer position to put this issue to rest for our local DEC. I wish the remaining volunteers the best and apologize for the unintended embarrassment."
"I am putting this behind me today," she added. "Moving forward, I hope to do better and continue to fight for Democratic values. I put my foot in my mouth - it isn't the first time in my life and may not be the last."
John Ramos, President of the Democrat Hispanic Caucus of Florida, told the Washington County News on Monday that the Caucus agrees with the need to move forward, rather than dwelling on what many Hispanic Democrats saw as xenophobic statements.
"[Robert's] remarks were unkind, ignorant, and short-sighted, but we as a caucus are taking the high road and not dwelling or responding to them as they were made by her as an individual and not as a representative of the Florida Democratic Party," Ramos said. "It was upsetting to hear from a member of our own party more of what we have been hearing [about Hispanics] for the last six months, but she apologuzed and admitted it was uncalled for, and now we are keeping our focus on the target, and that focus is winning 2018 by educating the [voter] base and being more engaged. We have bigger fish to fry than addressing this individual's remarks."
Medina also said he is willing to move past the verbal altercation.
"This issue has been settled, and Mrs. Roberts has apologized," Medina said on Monday, "I think the Florida Democratic Party is working hard to be inclusive and to offer working people of all races and national origin a better future. This was a learning experience for all parties involved."