Prominent Florida and national politicians will gather to pay their respect to the late U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young at his memorial service Thursday with one noticeable exception — former Gov. Charlie Crist.
Although Congress will be closed that day, and the Department of Defense will be flying its members down to honor the senior Republican of the chamber, the congressman’s widow, Beverly Young, made it clear Crist’s presence would not be welcome, according to the Miami Herald.
She sent Crist an email, which was printed by the Herald and reads:
This e-mail is to officially advise you that your presence at my husband’s memorial services will be unacceptable. I have watched over the years, as Bill had, your transparent attempts to manipulate the political arena. I don’t want my husband’s memorial service to be another opportunity for that and I will not tolerate anyone turning this into a platform for political gain.
Please honor my families request.
Widow of Congressman Bill Young
In addition to the email, she offered a written statement to the press on the decision.
“Bill specifically said he didn’t want his memorial service to be a platform for local politicians to work the crowds. He’s right. It’s not only wrong , its disgusting to see that happen,” she said. “He gave me the names of the people he wished wouldn’t show up, that was just three and we both know I don’t care about political correctness so I took it upon myself to honor his wishes.”
With that in mind, Beverly Young sent similar emails to Pinellas County Commissioner Charlie Justice and St. Petersburg lawyer Jessica Ehrlich, both Democrats who ran against the late congressman.
“I’ve been at many political funerals and listened to locals standing in groups planning their strategies,” Beverly Young continued. “God gave people souls, but some don’t know to take advantage of that God given gift.”
Crist was elected governor of Florida as a Republican, and served one term, from January of 2007 to 2011. When a seat in the U.S. Senate opened up with the resignation of then-Sen. Mel Martinez, Crist appointed his chief of staff, George LeMieux, to serve the remainder of Martinez’s term, and announced his own bid for that seat when the term expired in 2010.
He was challenged by fellow Republican Marco Rubio, who was considered a long-shot against Crist. Rubio eventually trounced Crist in the polls. Within days of repeatedly telling Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday” that e would never renounce his membership in the Republican Party, Crist renounced his membership in the Republican Party, continued his senatorial run as an independent and was overwhelmingly beaten by Rubio in the general election. He has since announced that he’s a Democrat.
If nothing else, I have to hand it to the late congressman and his widow for having good taste.