1. Florida Politics

Carrying congresswoman's bags: chivalry or politics?

Published Nov. 10, 2012

Don't look for a quick post-election truce between the political parties, at least in Broward County.

A Broward Sheriff's Office deputy's offer to carry one of U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz' bags after she got off a plane in Fort Lauderdale has drawn the ire of one of the nation's top Republicans.

It happened Thursday.

Wasserman Schultz, of Weston, the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, was on the same flight back home as Sharon Day, of Fort Lauderdale, the co-chairwoman of the Republican National Committee.

Day said two deputies were on hand. This was what ensued, Day said by email:

"As they walked with her carrying her bag I asked 'is it appropriate for Broward County sheriff officers to be carrying people's luggage instead of protecting people at the airport.' The officer on left said 'if we want to.'

"I asked again 'if it was appropriate and as a Broward County taxpayer I did not think it was appropriate and they were paid to protect us and the airport not carry people's baggage.' The officer on the right looked at me and stated 'don't be a hater.' I responded 'I'm not a hater … I am a taxpayer and I don't find it appropriate. You are paid to keep us safe not carry luggage.' His response again was 'yes, you are a hater … don't be a hater.' He then stated again and again 'Don't be a hater … don't be a hater.'

Here's a response from Chief Roy Liddicott, BSO's commander at the airport, about whether deputies should carry bags and if their ability to respond to an emergency would be compromised:

"We quite often are requested to provide security for a number of individuals that travel through FLL for a variety of reasons and do so.

"No personnel here are required and/or expected to ever carry anybody's bags but if they choose to do so that is their choice.

"And as far as occupying their hands impairing their ability to respond, they carefully assess each situation and act accordingly knowing their limitations and abilities to respond as necessary."

Here's a response from Jonathan Beeton, communications director for Wasserman Schultz:

"The BSO officer kindly offered to help the congresswoman with one of her bags.

"It is a shame that someone would attack a polite gesture simply because they disagree with the congresswoman's politics."


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