Rick Scott, the governor of Florida, was heckled by a woman with a grudge in Starbucks, reports ABC Action News. The woman, Cara Jennings, was filmed verbally attacking the Republican governor on April 4 in a Gainesville coffee shop. An alert bystander named Stephen Bender uploaded the video on YouTube and created a viral phenomenon in the Sunshine State.
Cara was on her laptop near the counter “reading about Scott signing a bill that cuts money for Planned Parenthood” when Scott came into the Starbucks. Ignoring the bewildered looks on the faces of the baristas, the woman noticed the governor and took her chance.
“‘I saw his profile, and I thought, ‘Is that the governor?’ she said. ‘I didn’t think about whether I should do it or not…I thought, ‘Here’s my chance to tell the governor how I feel about the horrible bill.'”
Rick Scott looked over at the woman as he approached the counter, accompanied by some of his entourage. The staff and customers of the Starbucks were either giggling at the brawl or trying to look like they didn’t notice what was going on.
With the governor’s attention and on a roll, Jennings jumped in with Medicaid. Scott vainly tried to pacify the woman as his staff began to circle.
“You cut Medicaid, so I couldn’t get Obamacare…you don’t care about working people. You should be ashamed to show your face around here.”
After calling Scott “an a**hole,” Jennings replied to Scott’s retort about creating a million jobs.
“A million jobs? Great, who here has a great job? Or is looking forward to finishing school? Do you really feel like you have a job coming up?'”
The woman got a reply with that one; Scott told her “You should,” after the “Who here has a great job?” question.
According to the Miami Herald, Scott’s spokeswoman, Jeri Bustamante, looked like she was trying to approach Jennings but had second thoughts. Jennings, 39, who is a stay-at-home single mom from Lake Worth, just kept on shouting. Scott and his posse evidently decided that the flat white would have to wait and decided to leave.
Rick Scott was then told “shame on you” as he headed for the door. Cara added that Scott had helped to “strip women of access to public healthcare.”
“We depend on those services. Rich people like you don’t know what to do, when poorer people like us need health services you cut them.”
It turns out that Scott’s agitator wasn’t just a casual voter with grievances. The Palm Beach Post reports that Jennings is a former Lake Worth commissioner. Cara “has touted herself as an ‘anarchist’ in the past” and is “involved in meetings and civil discussion…following her departure from the commission.”
It was poor timing for Rick Scott to walk into that particular Gainesville Starbucks on Tuesday. Cara later said that “just last night I looked online to see if there is a march planned to defend our rights to abortion.”
Rick Scott grinned as he left the Starbucks with his entourage but without his latte. The tirade of abuse followed the governor and his staff out of the door.
“You’re an embarrassment to our state!”
Jennings later said, “A number of people came up to me and thanked me.”
Is it okay to heckle politicians in public? One of the other patrons in the Gainesville Starbucks thinks so; he can be heard whispering “sweet” after the woman finished her rant.
The Twitter reaction to Rick Scott and his run-in with his agitator is fairly mixed, but Scott probably won’t be venturing into a Starbucks anytime soon.
[Photo by Chase Stevens/AP]