November 14th, 2010
05:36 PM ET
12 years ago

GOP Congressman-elect speaks out over controversy

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

Filed under: Allen West • Congress • House Republicans
soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. Dave

    We're screwed!

    November 14, 2010 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  2. they call me "tater salad"

    Typical right winger.........Spin, spin, spin!

    November 14, 2010 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  3. R.Williams

    If he was a 'black Democratic Congressman-elect', he wouldn't be hiring a right-wing shock-jock for his staff.

    November 14, 2010 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  4. John D

    Finally a Congressman worth his pay. Screw the media as they are just a bunch of way left morons anyway. America wants illegals dealt with. That doesn't mean amnesty either. Get out!!!! I'm sick of my tax dollars paying for their butts!! I'm sick of the welfare crowd too. Get of the couch!!!!

    November 14, 2010 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  5. T'sah from Virginia

    "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,"

    Allen West is a LOSER!! He did not hire a "brilliant political mind", he hired a 2nd Amendment "small pocket of America" BIGOT!!! If there was NO Controversy – then why did she turn down the job?! If she was so BRILLIANT – which is the reason why West hired her – why did she NOT take the job???

    She 'did not' take the job because it was realized that she would have been BAD NEWS for an African American!! The same reason why WEST joined the CBC after this MESS!! Maybe she QUIT before being hired because West joined the CBC???? Whatever the reason, she is an IDIOT and need to stay out of POLITICS!!

    I guess WEST is going to be a ONE-TERM Congressman!!!

    T'sah is OUT of Campaign MODE – N2 Moving American Forward with our Leader – President Obama!!

    November 14, 2010 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  6. smum

    No Mr. has nothing to do with the "so-called liberal media", or bigotry,or racism, or sexism. It has everything to do with her irresponsible and unacceptable behavior as a potential "government official". She can continue her garbage and treasonous talk all she wants as a radio talk show host or as a private citizen. It's her right. As chief of staff of a US congressman, the country demands better. The same goes to you. The campaign is over, your evil and sometimes laughable rethoric (i.e. your higher than the Comamnder-in-Chief's security clearance) won you the election. Enough of your anger and it's time for you to govern, which I seriously doubt you can.

    By the way, it's funny how you so eagerly play the "race card" when it's convenient to you.

    November 14, 2010 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  7. independent

    You hire someone like that to say the things you don't have the courage to say yourself.

    November 14, 2010 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  8. Adalbert

    A brilliant mind? More like an idiot. May be this the new republican definition for brilliant.

    November 14, 2010 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  9. ken

    These two hate mongers deserve each other.

    November 14, 2010 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  10. Cocitizen

    This guy is an idiot and an embarrassment to all military veterans. The "liberal" media did not have to go into overdrive to attack this woman. All they had to do was play videos of the lunatic's rantings and ravings. Her on words did her in and made West look like the obvious fool that he is. I know that Abraham Lincoln must be twirling in his tomb at these people who now carry the label of his Republican party.

    November 14, 2010 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  11. Aquarius

    No what SHE said was despicable and she became a liability to you! Good luck with the CBC, the Civil Rights era old-heads will have you for lunch.

    November 14, 2010 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  12. jodipo

    oh wow, talk about unhinged. Why is it that in this country when you have concerns about someone it HAS to be racism, or sexism? Is it not even remotely possible that people objected to this woman for the simple reason of she seems inappropriate in Washington, where you have to be able to speak better than she does? Where, when you come out against an issue you should be able to reason it better than saying they breed like animals?

    November 14, 2010 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  13. annie s

    Yawn. That mean old liberal left. Honestly, conservatives, can't you change the mantra once in a while?

    November 14, 2010 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  14. lakerman

    Why didn't Mr. West's high level secruity clearance – better than the President's – help him understand that this was a bonehead move? The fact that he still can't understand how wrong his decision was speaks volumes about his lack of ability for the office to which he has been elected.

    November 14, 2010 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  15. Kenneth Close

    Free speech we pay so much for it and allow so little of it unless the speaker has nothing His/Her detractors can use.

    November 14, 2010 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  16. LouAz

    Another Republican that for some unknown reason(s) thinks he is SPECIAL ! You not in office yet. When you do get sworn in – get to work.

    November 14, 2010 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  17. Right Leaning Independent

    This guy gets it!!! Mr West is going to be great representative of common sense....

    November 14, 2010 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  18. KJ

    Instead of looking in the mirror to confront the person who made a bad choice, here is another Republican blaming the liberal media for their own bad choices. Mr. West needs to man up!

    November 14, 2010 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |