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:

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Filed under: Allen West • Florida
soundoff (907 Responses)
  1. Ramana7

    This guy wouldn't know what communism was if it bit him on the behind.

    It's classic school yard tactics of name calling to divide people and get others on your side in hating the other side. Though, it's not unlikely that this guy actually believes what he is saying, because in the end, he's just a brain-washed minion, nothing more.

    April 12, 2012 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  2. arpad

    78-81 is low. And don't forget about Comrade Hussein of Mombasa and his cadres in the White House, God Bless the Colonel!

    April 12, 2012 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  3. Chinese Ambassador

    Um Congressman last time I looked the communist Chinese were are trading partners and shouldnt you thank them for lending your weak government so much money over the years. Please Congressman be a diplomat not a another paranoid undermining republican snob.

    April 12, 2012 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  4. scientificpoetry

    Someone should remind this man that stupidity is not a virtue...

    April 12, 2012 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  5. Sandy

    What an embarrassment!

    April 12, 2012 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  6. Ron

    I suppose the response should be that the members of the republican caucus are fascists because they continue to support the corporate takeover of our government. However, to do so would be as shallow and irrisponsible as Mr. West's comments. How would either of these descriptions help us solve our problems? They don't. The only purpose of such comments is to poison the ideas of either party. JUST STOP IT. Grow up Mr. West, we need adult thinkers not adolesent name callers.

    April 12, 2012 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  7. American

    Rhetoric, no substance.
    D, I, or R...we are all Americans.

    It's beyond comprehension how South Florida elected West, as he does not represent the general public. Please vote him out.

    April 12, 2012 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  8. matthewjtanner

    Republicans are like Nazis on acid.

    April 12, 2012 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  9. Al-NY,NY

    ...and about 80% of GOP congressional members belong to the Taliban

    April 12, 2012 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  10. mike

    Being from Florida I know West for the Tea Party nut job that he is. He will only serve one term because we now know
    he is crazy.

    April 12, 2012 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  11. uhoh

    I think that's the problem....the GOP is still living in the 50s, hoping to get back to the 80s.
    Out of touch with

    April 12, 2012 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  12. DaveFL

    "Those who cannot remember the past, etc." And, yeah, we're stuck with this whack job, for now. Sen. Johnny Iselin, Sen. Joe McCarthy, Rep. Allen West...gads.

    Why couldn't he have picked a number that's easy to remember, like 57?

    April 12, 2012 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  13. Tom

    Why is anything he said relevant for national news. He ran as a 20 year Army vet (he was) but failed to point out he retired and got an Article 15 on a plea deal to avoid courts martial.

    April 12, 2012 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  14. Jack

    I was stationed in Taji Iraq at the same time as Allen West who was a lieutenant colonel. He was releived of command and forced out of the Army for torturing a prisoner. This guy is insane and immoral.

    April 12, 2012 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  15. bassman

    So now Palin should be able to see future statements by politicians? Only Palin could be blamed for future statements. Our Media is getting to be predictable.

    April 12, 2012 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  16. DanD

    It's astounding that "radicalism" is now tossed at people who are supporting freedom...free markets, free economies, free choice and NOT at the "Progressive" movement that supports government control, and less personal freedom. The world is upside down. This guy may not have chosen the right words, but he is absolutely correct!

    April 12, 2012 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  17. Mark

    If you don't agree with his point, then you are part of the problem, as he is speaking the truth.

    April 12, 2012 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  18. andy

    The leader of the House of Representatives, Speaker Boehner, should come out and denounce this kind of "red scare" speech. It's beneath the dignity of Congress.

    April 12, 2012 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  19. nilla

    Wait – is it possible to be a member of the Democratic and Communist Parties? If so, can I register Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, and Communist? What would my registration card look like?

    April 12, 2012 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  20. juanathon

    i like this guy. he is good old fashioned nuts!

    April 12, 2012 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  21. ThatsIt121

    If the shoe fits....
    I don't know what bothers me more, the fact that they are not denying the claim or the fact that there is a Communist Party USA active in America.

    April 12, 2012 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  22. Randy, San Francisco

    Rep West is the poster child of the Tea Party...angry and a little unhinged. Maybe he should go up to Alaska, sit on the front porch of Palin's house, look out at Russia, and keep a watchful eye.

    April 12, 2012 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  23. davidk

    Finally......republican multiple personality disorder surfaces for all to see. It would be so sad if not for the malevolent power they wield over our lives.

    April 12, 2012 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  24. Andrew Drinker

    I hope Rep. West is enjoying his sole term in the House.

    April 12, 2012 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  25. Huh?!

    "But, he has said, Romney has yet to call. " Call? Call?! CALL?!!!! Dude, he wouldn't even show up in the same city with you much less ask you to run for VP if he has any live brain cells at all! Romney's only hope is to start trying to look centrist if he wants to court the independent vote. With West or anyone remotely *like* West on the ticket they may as well take their toys and go home.

    April 12, 2012 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
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