Miami Temple Cancels Speech By DNC Chair
Temple Israel in Miami, Fla., canceled an upcoming speech by Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz on Thursday. Temple officials canceled the affair after a prominent Republican donor left the congregation in protest. According to Erika Bolstad of McClatchy Newspapers, the donor was 81-year-old philanthropist Stanley Tate, who has ties to the Romney campaign.
Tate is no stranger to controversy. In 2009, according to The Tampa Bay Times, he began a battle against the Florida legislature, when it proposed to introduce legislation that would allow Florida Universities to raise tuition by up to 15% every year. Tate, who created a prepaid tuition program for Floridians in 1987, said that tuition hikes could destroy his program. Therefore, according to The Times, he took out advertisements and flew around the state in order to protest against the proposal.
Now, Tate is taking aim at temple officials, who, he says, ought to have asked Shultz to speak in the temple’s auditorium, rather than its sanctuary. He also maintains that a Republican should have been given a chance to speak as well.
Tate’s withdrawal from the Temple is likely to provoke a strong reaction. Tate and his wife Joni were such an integral part of Temple Israel, that the Temple’s preschool, The Joni & Stanley Tate Early Childhood Center, is named after them.
According to Bolstad, Temple President Ben Kuehne was so worried about a negative reaction to Tate’s withdrawal, that he cited safety concerns as the reason behind the cancellation of Wasserman Shultz’s speech.
Bolstad reports that Schultz reacted to the cancellation, by saying that she believed that constituents ought to hear from and interact with their representatives. She further state that it was too bad that internal politics had prevented members of the congregations from having that chance.
Yet it was partially because Temple Israel denied Tate and his fellow Republicans the chance to interact with Wasserman Schultz that the speech was ultimately canceled.
Wasserman Schultz also clashed with fellow Democrats this week, when she opposed President Obama’s decision to issue a visa to Mariela Castro – the daughter of Cuban President Raúl Castro and the niece of former President Fidel Castro. According to the Miami Herald, Wasserman Shultz objected to Castro’s visit “because of ongoing Human Rights abuses”. Although she chose to break with Obama over the decision, she was quick to point out that Former President Bush had allowed Castro to visit the United States three times during his two terms in office.
Filed Under: Politics
About the Author: Miranda has a B.A. in political science and has worked over a decade as a news reporter, financial news writer and political blogger. More about Miranda