On Thursday, Florida’s Secretary of State Michael Ertel, who was appointed by Gov. Ron DeSantis just weeks earlier, entered in his resignation after photos of him in blackface, as a Hurricane Katrina victim no less, emerged.
According to the Tallahassee Democrat, the photos in question came from a private Halloween party 14 years ago, two months after Katrina devastated the country, killing 1,800 people.
The photo was taken in 2005, just eight months after Ertel was appointed as Seminole County supervisor of elections. He was photographed with his face smeared black, red lipstick on his lips, wearing earrings and a New Orleans Saints bandana. He also wore fake breasts under a purple shirt that read “Katrina Victim.”
This is Michael Ertel, the newly appointed secretary of state of Florida, posing in blackface as a Hurricane Katrina victim at a private Halloween party. In case you’re wondering why we’re mad. pic.twitter.com/8dcFDsaj9s
— Reese Waters (@reesewaters) January 25, 2019
Ertel declined to comment on the photo.
“There’s nothing I can say,” he said.
Because there’s really nothing to say. He submitted his resignation the same day he gave a presentation on election litigation before a House subcommittee, according to the Democrat.
“I am submitting my resignation as Florida secretary of state effective immediately,” he wrote. “It has been an honor to serve you and the voters of Florida.”
“It’s unfortunate. I think he’s done a lot of good work,” DeSantis said of Ertel’s resignation. However, DeSantis noted he accepted the resignation because “I don’t want to get mired into kind of side controversies, and so I felt it was best to just accept the resignation and move on.”