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. Sailor101

    I would hope that his acquisations are incorrect. The fact that he and many others believe this to be true should be a cause for alarm. There usually are nuggets of truth under seemingly outreageous acquisations by both the far left and the far right, it might take a lot of investigation to uncover those nuggets but they are usually there in one form or another. Most of the time they are not as egregeous as the speaker or author originally claim but usually there is something there....bears looking into at the least.

    April 12, 2012 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  2. Ranger 14

    Sounds like the perfect man to be the Vice Presidential candidate for Gov. Romney: Narrow minded and clueless. He will do a fine job of following Gov. Palin's footsteps. Keep talking Mr. West. Make your party proud.

    April 12, 2012 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  3. Everyman

    Are the conservatives that are afraid of government taking over people's lives the same ones that want government to tell women what they can or can't do with their bodies?

    April 12, 2012 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  4. J

    deb0155 fails to realize that it is the Republican party that is controlling our individual freedoms. When's the last time you boarded an airplane deb0155? You can thank GW Bush for the fact that you are now x-rayed and shown nude to the TSA agent and your teenage daughter is physically molested before boarding her flight. And thank the Republican Supreme Court Justice that says police can now strip search you if you are jailed because you had an outstanding parking ticket. And don't even get me started on the Repulican's that want a woman to be raped with a medical device because they can't afford to feed another mouth and have chosen to terminate an unplanned pregnancy because she couldn't afford to pay out of pocket for birth control!

    April 12, 2012 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  5. Sid Hatfield

    Like the old saying among labor organizers and quoted by Woody Guthrie..."You ain't done near enough unless you been called a Red". In other words; when a reactionary crypto-Fascist corporatist tool like Mr. West calls you a Commie then you really are making a positive difference for ordinary working folks. Carry on Progressive Caucus, stand up for the workers and common people, the 99%, the salt of the earth, the muscle and backbone of America...SOLIDARITY !

    April 12, 2012 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  6. Sue

    This guy is certifiably NUTS, not to mention the crazies that elected him! Right-wing radicals can't see the forest for the trees!

    April 12, 2012 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  7. John

    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. Quibble over 70 vs 80 if you like. Argue with the American Communist Party if you like, and say that their list of supporters is wrong. But getting upset over a statement like this just avoids focus on the actual policies advanced by both political parties. Look at and judge by what Congress is *doing*, not a single, misquoted statement.

    April 12, 2012 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  8. Sailor101

    @TM although I do not know what Security Clearance or Access Mr. West has, there are many people who have Access to certain programs that the President does not have access to; The highest Security Clearance is Top Secret, nothing higher cut and dry black and white, Access is another thing all together and is different than a Security Clearance.

    April 12, 2012 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  9. NJBob

    West is an embarrassment to this country. And what does it say about the people who voted him? It certainly doesn't inspire a lot of confidence in the democratic process.

    April 12, 2012 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  10. longshot

    Why are GOP leadership, members of Congress, allowed to keep making these statements on a national and state level without being completely called out for what they are? And yet the media keeps saying "both sides do it" – bull.

    April 12, 2012 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  11. Pastor Mike Palevo

    I'd really like to know just how many of our government officials, including our president, leans toward Socialist/Communist agenda?? Remember WWII where we hooked up with Communist Russia! Sen. Joseph McCarthy got pegged anti-semitic because of his witch hunt after the Communist party in the US. He uncovered many Jewish factions, including our great Albert Einstein, whose connection to the communist party was uncovered. Do your homework! You'll see!

    April 12, 2012 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  12. Malory Archer

    JD in Moraga, CA

    Labeling Congressional Democrats "Communists" is no more shocking than labeling Congressional Republicans "Fascists."


    Did a Democratic Congresscritter call the rethugliban congress fascists? No? Then your point is moot. I called the rethugliban fasicist because I'm aware of what it means, and it parallels rethugliban ideology and policy.

    April 12, 2012 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  13. JD

    Unfortunately we've all come to expect stupid comments like that to come out of Republicans. They are a broken record.

    April 12, 2012 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  14. Yankees fan

    Please pick him as VP candidate – self implosion can be a fun thing to watch

    April 12, 2012 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  15. KJ

    Conservatives don't even know what the term means. They hear it from the radical right wing on Fox and AM radio and like parrots repeat what they hear over and over and over.

    April 12, 2012 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  16. Pete

    West in the near future will be kicked to the curb,so to speak.He's the poster boy for the rightwing obstructionists agenda trying to set up the typical republicatn smoke screen to devert attention from the true political message of taking care of their 1% masters.He if anyone should know that when the time is right politically,he will wish he'd never said such extreme remarks.It'll be on his political headstone that Wests remarks sank his career early in the political arena.So West say what you want,you'll be asked at election time to answer to these radically extreme views.Views that are previlent in the rightwings mentality today,remember what goes around, comes around.That's karma,plain and simple,and its gonna bite ya in your egotistical backside politically in the near future...

    April 12, 2012 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  17. Malory Archer

    Get a job Hippies

    Amen Colonel!

    He was a LIEUTENANT COLONEL, and a disgraced one at that. To promote him in rank is disgusting and entirely inappropriate, even if it IS just in your head.

    April 12, 2012 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  18. Larry L


    "If you don't agree with his point, then you are part of the problem, as he is speaking the truth."
    LEt me see if I understand your logic... Anybody who disagrees with this flake falls into a group of people who don't make ridiciulous McArthy-era accusations. I guess they'd also be in a group who wouldn't admire a politician who ran for office as if he was a war hero when he was essentiially thrown out for bad behavior. He wouldn't be able to maintain a top secret security clearance – not a good place for an officer (Note: For the record – he did not attain the rank of full Colonel although his supporters tend to refer to him in that fashion. Officers with Article 15s don't get promoted.) The "problem" is Florida has people so far to the ultra-right-wing they agree with this fool. Those folks are mentally unstable.

    April 12, 2012 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  19. dob in albuquerque

    Mr. West does not have to look very far to find UN-American does he? It exists right in his fruit of the loons.

    April 12, 2012 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  20. Jeff in TX

    Yep, VP candidate. A la Michelle Bachmann. Whatever.

    April 12, 2012 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  21. coy4one

    Wow! That's very interesting since in most communists countries, the very wealthy are the ones who control the people. The promotion of wealth that the GOP members preach daily, actually puts the average American in more of a communist status. But then again in all communist countries, misleading the people is the underlying goal of the rich and powerful. "Make them hate the wealthy, but keep them poor." I see.....

    April 12, 2012 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  22. blah9999

    Wouldn't be surprised. I know of a few people who aren't afraid to call themselves communists. For some reason they think that system works... Obviously it doesn't.

    April 12, 2012 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  23. tom c

    west is just trying to belittle the democrats because they are about to run the house and senate. he will be on the outside looking in.

    April 12, 2012 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  24. Dan,Dan

    Pushing people to depend of government with a weekly check and health care it's a 100% vote for me!!!!I They promise to you to have a check, not working and have a good life!
    This why so many people depend of government check....All of them will vote again, they really love it the new system since 2008....

    April 12, 2012 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  25. Really?

    His camp is going, "You really got them going, boss. Good job!" The only way to treat this kind of rhetoric is to ignore it. Consider the source and ignore it. Remarks are not true, so no need to defend. Ramana7 is right. Feeding the hungry, helping the sick....that's where it's at.

    April 12, 2012 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
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