Florida Rep labels congressional Democrats as Communists
April 11th, 2012
10:31 PM ET
11 years ago

Florida Rep labels congressional Democrats as Communists

(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.

Also see:

Romney on Santorum: 'This has been a good day for me'

Louisiana governor endorses Romney

Crossroads GPS to drop $1.7 million against Obama

Filed under: Allen West • Florida
soundoff (907 Responses)
  1. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    Lay off the guy. The Constitution guarantees the right to be and say stupid things.

    April 11, 2012 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  2. Derek from Boston

    Dear Allen West.

    What a dumb thing to say.

    Derek from Boston

    April 11, 2012 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  3. Nobodies Pon

    Nice flat top Mr. West reminds me of the commie Rocky fought in RockyIII.

    April 11, 2012 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  4. cali girl

    That is rich, really West? Good luck when you need your sear again. Almost as bad as a hate word.

    April 11, 2012 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  5. Will

    Why would ANY district elect this joke of humanity. He is the Joke of the Day EVERYDAY!

    April 11, 2012 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  6. Bart

    This guy is a joke. You say he was actually elected in Florida?

    Oh wait, Florida.
    Riiiight, whatever.

    April 11, 2012 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  7. Terry

    Brace yourself America, the Republicans are trying to bring back the late 40's and early 50's. Well, if it will keep women barefoot, pregnant, and getting dinner to the table on time, I am for Romney. Now there is a man who understands how to manage women. Looking back on Romney's business career, I don't think he hired that many women, so I may be wrong about his ability to get women to follow his instructions.

    April 11, 2012 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  8. GaryMN

    McCarthy was wrong putting Communists in jail or deporting them. He should have just exposed them, then they would be visible today. Now any attempt to discuss the issue is met by insults and demonetization. It is too obvious, why hide it? Even the Communist Party said "not the epithet it once was." There is a reason why they hide it. Why doesn't the press explore the plausibility? Aren't you a bit curious why the Democrats and the press don't want to discuss it rationally?

    April 11, 2012 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  9. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    As a Floridian, I am concerned that this man is out walking around. He is crazy.

    April 11, 2012 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  10. 1twinsfan

    Well, I can say there is at least one buffoon in the Republican party that represents Florida.

    April 11, 2012 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  11. Steve

    Typical comments from the American Nazi Party abbreviated GOP.

    April 11, 2012 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  12. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    I see the organization of Nazis, Racists, and Anarchists are scheduled to meet in St. Louis this weekend.

    April 11, 2012 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  13. mrdeshon

    A communist? A muslim? Why if we dont watch out we might have a mormon in the white house!...oh yeah? I forgot we got one running for president! Im realizing daily that the GOP is a party of scared little penised men who think that if they deflect long enough then no one will ever look down @ their own "short" comings. Most of America doesnt care whose communist,muslim or mormon because anyone of these people can still be an American. In fact thats what being an American is...its called diversity!

    April 11, 2012 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  14. Patriot Awesome

    His statements are funny when you consider the fact that republican policies have caused us to borrow money from and outsource jobs to communist china.

    April 11, 2012 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  15. Keith

    I know as a fact that there's a certain republican freshman congressman who is a war criminal. Allen West has no business representing a country he betrayed by breaking the Geneva convention in war.

    April 11, 2012 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  16. Larry L

    Communists? First the "evils of contraception" and now calling the opposition "communists"... Is it 1955 in Florida? Just how bad can it get in Florida politics?

    This foolish and evil man represents everything that's wrong with today's conservatives. He is proving that African Americans can be just as hateful and dishonest as the white right-wingers!

    April 11, 2012 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  17. agathokles

    Oh, pleaaassssee, Mitt. Pick him! Oh what fun!

    April 11, 2012 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  18. dnick47

    Red Baiting – another old GOP trick, goes back to the 20's. Don't you goose stepping National Socialist have ANY NEW IDEAS?????? Little wonder you are the part of obstruction and failure.

    April 11, 2012 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  19. Sage Sophos the second!

    This time which movie influences him to say that?

    April 11, 2012 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  20. Mark

    The term Progressive was adopted by American Communists when the term Communist became unfashionable. Therefore West is correct. Anyone who identifies as a Progressive or with Progressives is a Communist or a Communist sympathizer respectively.

    April 11, 2012 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  21. Will

    This man is a JOKE. Every time he opens his mouth,he embarrasses himself and the district he represents. He is literally the JOKE OF THE DAY!

    April 11, 2012 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  22. Edwin

    Wow. It is scary that we have such angry, crazy people in Congress. Then again, somebody actually asked him the question, too, so maybe his district is full of kooks.

    April 11, 2012 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  23. Thomas

    Even Florida Rep. Allen West's own brother thinks he's crazy .

    West responded, "I believe there's about 78 to 81 members of the Democratic Party that are members of the Communist Party." So he must also think 78 to 82 members of the Republican party are Neonazis and Fascists.

    Who elected this guy ?

    April 11, 2012 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  24. Will

    Adam West = JOKE OF THE DAY!

    April 11, 2012 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  25. winstonsmith

    Yay witchhunts! That was fun in the 50s.

    April 11, 2012 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
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