November 11th, 2010
07:08 PM ET
12 years ago

Tapped conservative chief of staff bows out

Washington (CNN) - Florida conservative radio talk show host Joyce Kaufman will not become the chief of staff to Congressman-elect Allen West in light of controversial comments she made on her show.

Kaufman had been a staunch supporter of West, a Republican and Tea Party favorite. He defeated incumbent Rep. Ron Klein in Florida's 22nd congressional district.

In a statement, Kaufman said she called West Wednesday night to tell him she would not accept the position.

"I am confident that he will be an excellent representative and will remain a close friend," she said. "I am proud of his decisive victory on November 2nd, but I will not be complicit in this effort to diminish his stature by attacks against me or endanger myself and others by serving as his chief of staff."

Kaufman has repeatedly attacked illegal immigrants in the United States.

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."

She did not respond to CNN's request for comment on her decision not to take the congressional job or her previous statements. On Tuesday she called House Speaker Nancy Pelosi "garbage." And her radio station, WFTL-AM in South Florida, had said once she took the job as chief of staff she would remain on staff as its Washington correspondent.

On Thursday, West said he accepted Kaufman's decision but said he did so "with deep regret that this Congressional office and the people of CD (congressional district) 22 will not have Joyce Kaufman as my chief of staff."

"Joyce is a good friend and will remain loyal to South Floridians and to me," West said in a statement, reported by The Miami Herald. "I will always seek Joyce's counsel for being a good representative of this congressional district."

Kaufman said, "I will not be used in an electronic lynching by proxy," according to the Herald.

On Wednesday schools in Broward County, which includes West's district, were put on lockdown after a caller to the radio station where Kaufman works said her husband intended to go to a school and fire a gun, according to Pembroke Pines Police Captain Dan Rakofsky. He also said the radio station received an e-mail saying "something big will happen at a government building."

- CNN Senior Producer Rich Phillips contributed to this report

- Follow Kevin Bohn on Twitter: @KevinBohnCNN

Filed under: Allen West • Florida
soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. carlos

    extremists both of them

    November 11, 2010 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  2. bob

    Words have power and her's seem to have a huge negative affect on Florida.

    November 11, 2010 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  3. Marge

    Gee wonder why? The had a sniper who got caught before they went after Obama. And he told the police..that he was doing so because he thought that was what Kaufman wanted. Because he thought she had suggested it. What in the world is wrong with republicans. I just can not believe that they are so enraged that they have lost power they would resort to hate and violence. Republicans so so so American that they put the corporations, the rich and their own quest for power over the welfare of the country. And ignorant people still vote for them.

    November 11, 2010 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  4. BJ

    So she doesn't want to be electronically lynched? The New Right is doing that to Obama, that is electronically, talk radio and cable stations. Give me a break, what is good for the goose is not good for the gander? Everytime I see those Republicans walk in the door with McConnel stating he is devoting his time to making sure Obama has only one term, I think about "Mississippi Burning".

    November 11, 2010 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  5. Bob, Virginia

    Yet another rightwing scumbag using the term "lynching" to make his or her own situation look as bad as possible. Despicable.

    November 11, 2010 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  6. Bill Clay

    I'm surprised that CNN didn't mention an incident recorded on video at a 4th of July Tea party rally where Joyce Kaufman told the crowd, "if ballots don't work, bullets will." This violent rhetoric was documented by local South Florida media. Is it any wonder that the callers to her radio station are threatening violence to government buildings? The tea Party is rapidly becoming the American Taliban.

    November 11, 2010 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  7. Kate

    Allen West is not exactly the "kind" that the tea party is interested in working with. Kaufman is more of the Sharon Angle specimen.

    November 11, 2010 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  8. Tapped Out

    We all know why, don't we?

    November 11, 2010 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  9. once upon a horse

    isn't this the same woman that was talking about using "bullets" if the people don't get their way? West is another right wing nutjob himself who seems to think that he has a higher security clearence than the president does so at least for now it shows that these Tea Party folks DO come in all colors. It's going to be a fun congress to follow if nothing else...will it be a do nothing congress though?

    November 11, 2010 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  10. GaryB

    I think her being recorded at a rally saying "If ballots don't bring about change, bullets will." probably had more to do with the public outcry against her being made chief of staff than her comments about illegal immigration. After all, anyone who has so little regard for the will of the people should probably not be in charge of implementing the will of the people.

    November 11, 2010 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |