Washington (CNN) – Newly-elected GOP Congressman Allen West defended his ill-fated decision to hire a controversial radio host as his chief of staff and lashed out at her critics.
"I was not hiring a talk radio host; I was hiring a very brilliant political mind, someone that has been in South Florida politics for 20 plus years. But unfortunately the liberal left showed that I guess they are threatened and intimidated by me, and so they went into the attack dog mode, which is something that they did the entire time in our campaign," West told CNN Sunday in an interview at a downtown hotel where incoming freshmen were gathering for orientation.
West offered the position to Joyce Kaufman, but she turned down the job after some of her remarks received negative attention from the national media.
Kaufman has repeatedly attacked illegal immigrants in the Untied States on her radio program, which airs on WFTL-AM in South Florida.
According to The New York Times, at a rally she claimed illegal immigrants "reproduce at a rate about three times that American citizens do. And that's not bigotry, and that's just fact."
But West called the treatment of Kaufman "despicable."
"I think the American people are sick of, and that despicable, disgusting action and the way that they went after Joyce Kaufman shows that not only this liberal left has some issues with racism," West told CNN. "I guarantee you, if I was a black Democratic Congressman-elect, they would not be doing these type of actions, and the fact that they're attacking a woman like this, that shows me something about sexism and misogynist behavior."
Kaufman was a staunch supporter of the Tea Party favorite who defeated incumbent Rep. Ron Klein in the race for Florida's 22nd congressional district.
In a statement Wednesday she said she will continue to support West and was "proud of his decisive victory on November 2nd."
–CNN Senior Producer Kevin Bohn contributed to this report