(CNN) – Florida Rep. Allen West's controversial comments have once again landed him in the headlines – this time with the sort of accusation not seen in Congress since the 1950s.
At a town hall meeting with constituents in Jensen Beach, West was asked how many members of Congress are "card-carrying Marxists."
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According to CNN affiliate WPEC, West responded, "I believe there's about 78 to 81 members of the Democratic Party that are members of the Communist Party."
West's campaign manager, Tim Edison, pointed reporters to West's next comments, when he says the members in question belong to the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
"This group advocates for state control over industries, redistribution of wealth, reduced individual economic freedom and the destruction of free markets," Edison added in a statement. "These members of Congress advocate the type of policies that have put Europe on the brink of economic and fiscal collapse, and are driving the United States in the same direction. It is interesting that amid the swirl of feigned outrage and media misreporting of the Congressman’s remarks, all the attention is focused on the semantics, but no one is disputing the Progressive Caucus’s support for policies central to socialist and even Marxist systems."
The Congressional Progressive Caucus responded to West's comments with a statement calling the comment and others like it "personal attacks."
"Calling fellow Members of Congress 'communists' is reminiscent of the days when Joe McCarthy divided Americans with name-calling and modern-day witch hunts that don't advance policies to benefit people's lives," the statement, by caucus co chairs Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva and Keith Ellison, read.
A spokesman for the Communist Party USA said Wednesday that the remarks are "not the epithet it once was."
"We think it's ridiculous statement and totally untrue. It's clear he's trying to give the impression that there are people with a secret agenda in the Congress," party vice chair Libero Della Piana said.
"We don't take offense at it. Really it wasn't a statement about us at all," he added, but rather a myth about Democrats.
Last summer, West wrote an email to Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz describing her as "the most vile, unprofessional and despicable member of the US House of Representatives." Last February, he described a fellow member of Congress who is Muslim as "someone that really does represent the antithesis of the principles upon which this country was established."
West was suggested as a possible GOP vice presidential nominee last week by the party's most recent nominee, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. The first term congressman said on CNN's "Newsroom" that he is open to the possibility.
"(My family) has always stepped up to the plate to serve our country, and if it's the right thing, then I will do so. But I really doubt that would ever happen," he said.
But, he has said, Romney has yet to call.
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Then we can all assume that we have Nazis in the republicans party right wing
The Progressive Caucus should DEMAND an apologiy or his immediate censure for his comments. Let's wait and see if the congressional ethics committee lead by Issa will do anything... NOT!!!!!
If there are "communists" there are more "fascists" now in Congress. ---- "you lie" Repubs in Congress are classless and an embarrassment to all of us "former moderate Republicans"
Someone ought to toss this clown out with the daily garbage. I can not wait until he is summarily removed from office after November election.
What brought Europe to the brink of economic collapse was not Communism, or even the Social Democracy practiced there, but buying U.S. based credit default swaps. We caused this global mess by repealing Glass-Steagal.
Hopefully Florida will retire this guy in November. I have a feeling most everyone is tired of these Tea Party extremists and they are on their way out. I don't care where he served, or what clearance he has. He has no faith in democratic principles, and is therefore unAmerican.
What do you expect from a guy who was dishonorabley discharged from the military and claimed while running for Congrss to have a higher security clearance than the President. Florida sure makes news for all the wrong reasons. Still can't get over them electing their current Governor despite the fact that he committed Medicaid fraud.
and you robots will BELIEVE this clown because you're SCARED. He's trying to SCARE you into believing him. Why? Because if you use COMMON SENSE you would laugh! Most of you have no clue what a communist is! You're just TRAINED to believe it's BAD you just don't know why.
So go ahead and fall in line behind this insect and do what you're told
Almost all the Democrats and RINOs in Congress are Marxists. A few are Communists as well. Why is the left unwilling to own up to what they really believe?
@Get a job Hippies
"Amen Colonel! If there is a Progressive Caucus then yeah duh they believe in socialist ideas. Col. Alan West for President!!!"
You'd more accurately refer to West as Discraced Lieutenant Colonel West. He never attained the coveted rank of Colonel and in fact left the Army under a cloud of shame. He received an Article 15 for bad behavior and foolish acts. He was a loose canon with poor judgement then and remains one today. The ultra-right-wing is no more correct or reliable than the ultra-left. Both appeal to the angry and fearful in our society and never offer workable solutions for anything.
"The fact that he and many others believe this to be true should be a cause for alarm."
The fact that yuo believe he actually believes it to be true should be a cause for even greater alarm.
Hint: He doesn't. It's a calculated demagoguery talking point and your post exposes the precise kind of paranoid, logical-fallacy thinking he's trying to trigger.
Get ready Fox News...this guy will need a job come November.
Republicans say things like this because they are desperate and they have no other way to get votes. Their platform is widely rejected on almost every issue so their only option is to demonize, smear, and incite hate and fear towards democrats. Emotional, reactionary, low information voters eat this stuff up. Their party is a dead man walking, but they will try to hang on with these tactics until the bitter end.
It seems to me that this man has it bass ackwards on the cause of our economic demise. If the Dems are commies then the republicans are fascists.
Not sure about congress, but for sure there is a Republican governor up in Michigan who can definitely be called a dictator. They have declared these emergency laws that allows them to take over counties, fire people, close agencies, schools, etc. Without any regard to locasl elected officials. Now there is a dictator... That' tyrany..
Please accept my apology on behalf of all African Americans. This man is an embarrassment to all Americans ,and this is why idiots should not be elected into office,he is just shameful
Can someone please tell the republicans the cold war is over and Reagan is dead?
Not a correct quote. West said that he had heard that there were 80 or so Communists in Congress. He heard that from the American Communist Party, which stated that they had approximately 70 supporters in Congress- and then listed those supporters, by name.
According to the American Communist Party, there are 5,000 members nationwide, and not a single one of them sits in the U.S. House of Representatives or Senate, nor has there ever been such a member. That the lying liar said it was true doesn't make it so.
If They Work for the Corporations and allows the Corporations tacking control of the Government, Presidency and Supreme Court, it is call FASCISM, not communism. And at this point, no single Congress me member scopes the Corporative influence. Welcome to Germany between wars.
this one earn politifacts "pants on fire"
There are no members of Congress who are members of the Communist Party, said Libero Della Piana, vice president of the Communist Party USA, which has fewer than 5,000 members.
God please, let this guy be VP. It will do for Romney what Palin did for McCain. I liked McCain so I was at least sad when that happened. The whole group of GOP candidates this time was terrible, whatever happened to Progressive Republicans. Oh, wait we're all conservative democrats now.
Communists!!! Oh no.. I don't want to live in a commune!
The man simply speaks the truth. We have a wannabe "communist" President and several who see eye to eye with him in the Congress.
He is speaking relatively. He is a black man in GOP, and to survive there he can not be Communist, can not be Socialist like Noam Chomski, can not be progressive like Ralph Nader, can not be conservative like Obama, can not be regressive like Romney, can not be ultra-regressive like Ron Paul, he has to be "Beyond Ultra-Regressive". By his stand even Romney is Socialist, and Obama might be communist.