Earl Lauer Butz, R.I.P.

Earl Butz, who served as secretary of agriculture from 1971 to 1976 under Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, has died at the age of 98.

Butz was a highly educated yet an inept man. Before accepting a Cabinet appointment in Washington he served as dean of education at Purdue University.   

Butz is perhaps best known for being forced to resign after telling a racist joke on an airplane following the 1976 GOP convention in Kansas City. Entertainer Pat Boone had asked Butz why the GOP had trouble attracting black voters. Butz replied, “The only thing the coloreds are looking for in life are tight pussy, loose shoes, and a warm place to shit.”

This was the end of Butz’s career in public service. When news of the remark was widely reported in the press, Butz resigned. Five years later, Butz pleaded guilty to federal tax evasion charges.