UPDATE 2:38 p.m. EST:
Amid backlash for his distasteful comments, Florida state Sen. Frank Artiles resigned on Friday, USA Today reported. He sent a letter to Senate President Joe Negron announcing his resignation, claiming that he was doing so to protect his family and the integrity of the chamber.
"My actions and my presence in government is now a distraction to my colleagues, the legislative process and the citizens of our great state," Artiles wrote. "I am responsible and I am accountable and effective immediately, I am resigning from the Florida State Senate."
ORIGINAL STORY: Florida state Sen. Frank Artiles is facing criticism after he referred to a group of white senators using the word "niggers" while spewing other obscenities and ranting about the chamber's GOP leadership, the Chicago Tribune reported. The Florida Democratic party has pressured the senator to resign, saying he lacked the judgment to remain in office.
Artiles issued an apology statement to the Miami Herald.
"In an exchange with a colleague of mine in the Senate, I, unfortunately, let my temper get the best of me," he said. "There is no excuse for the exchange that occurred and I have apologized to my Senate colleagues and regret the incident profusely."
Republican leaders said Artiles is expected to give a formal apology on the state senate floor this week.
The incident occurred at a members-only Governor's Club when Artiles referred to the Republican Senate President Joe Negron as a "cunt", saying he had won the position because "six niggers" had elected him.
In a statement on Tuesday, Negron responded in a statement.
"I was appalled to hear that one Senator would speak to another in such an offensive and reprehensible manner," he said. "Racial slurs and profane, sexist insults have no place in a conversation between Senators."
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