Dan Tucker, GOP official who made fun of Commissioner John Morroni’s health issues, apologizes (finally)

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It only took sixteen hours and hundreds of comments on Facebook and other social media, but the Pinellas GOP state committeeman who made fun of Commissioner John Morroni’s health issues to criticize him for a political endorsement has apologized.

“John, I apologize for any comment about Cancer,” wrote Dan Tucker on Facebook this morning. “Please Forgive me. Comments about grave illnesses have no place in political discussions. I will always wish you success in your health. I will call you.”

Tucker created a mini-firestorm in local political circles on Thursday when he took to social media to criticize Morroni’s endorsement of St. Petersburg City Council candidate Darden Rice. Local politico Joe Triolo highlighted on Facebook an article from the Tampa Tribune discussing Morroni’s endorsement of Rice. In response to this, Tucker, an avowed Tea Partier first elected to his post in November, wrote, “Doesn’t he have cancer of the brain… hmmm?”

Tucker’s comments were quickly condemned from all sides of the political arena.

Pinellas Republican activist Daryle Hamel wrote to Tucker on Facebook, “You made a comment that is flat out inappropriate.”

Prominent political consultant Steve Schale took to Twitter to say, “Pinellas GOP official should resign. Comment out of bounds.”

State House candidate Chris Latvala, who is building an impressive track record of speaking out against the extreme elements in the Republican Party, wrote about Tucker’s comments on his Facebook page, “Such nonsense has no place in our party. I don’t wish cancer on my worst enemy and neither should Dan Tucker.”

Dozens of other politicos throughout Tampa Bay and Florida also criticized Tucker for his insensitive comments.

It appears that only after an avalanche of negative responses did Tucker decide to apologize.

Libertarian-leaning Republican activist Nick Egoroff wrote on Facebook that he spoke to Tucker soon after the comment was first made and said that Tucker told him he did not even know Morroni had cancer. That explanation was met with disbelief as Morroni’s courageous struggle with non-Hodgkin lymphoma has been widely discussed in local media and social networks.

This excuse was further undermined when Tucker finally responded to the wave of criticism by writing, “… I would give John a pass on endorsing another DEMOCRAT because he has health issues.”

After it became clear that Tucker did, in fact, intend to make the offensive comment, even his most ardent defenders called on him to apologize.

Early Friday morning, Tucker did just that. 

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.