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. ThinkAgain

    "Emotional, reactionary, low information voters eat this stuff up. Their party is a dead man walking, but they will try to hang on with these tactics until the bitter end."

    People who have been betrayed and used (GOP voters) are easily manipulated because it's a lot easier to hold onto your pride than admit you've not only made a mistake, but actually have to change your attitudes and behavior.

    Karl Rove figured this out a long time ago and has been screwing over the "base" of the GOP for years.

    April 12, 2012 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  2. Common Sense

    If you spout Marxist dogma then you're a Marxist

    April 12, 2012 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  3. FormerTeaPartyPerson

    It is crap like this that will cause Obama to be re-elected. I am a compassionate conservative, and my goal is not to have Obama serve another term. When will the right-wing of our party learn to keep their mouths shut!

    April 12, 2012 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  4. Lainie11

    There's no witch hunt. For the last 40 years we have been warning our friends that "yes, indeed" there are Communists in our government. And if they are not outright card carrying Communists, they promote the Communist philosophy. This is something that most people don't understand. You don't even have to "say" you're a Communist to promote the ideals/philosophy of the evil system. For too long now Americans have in the name of toleration, put up with these Communist jerks who call themselves politicians, who work to destroy America and our way of living. If you adhere to the Socialist/Marxist ideals, then go to Cuba or Red China. Quit destroying our government! People, wake up already!

    April 12, 2012 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  5. refugee

    Socialism is more and more popular in US. That’s really scary for people like me as I know exactly what socialism is of my life experience

    April 12, 2012 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  6. T's Gr.

    What else would you expect from the lunatic fringe?

    April 12, 2012 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  7. Rsprings

    If Congressman West is to be taken seriously he need to think before he speaks.

    April 12, 2012 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  8. Award Winning

    This is a great example of need 5 seconds of publicity. Ridiculous that a public representative would come on air a say something this crazy without proof. If it is true Mr. West, prove it with the list and source you quote. This was not done and his comments are nothing more than play ground chatter. The people of Florida deserve better than this.

    April 12, 2012 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  9. naomi

    WOW. It's really strange to see so much prejudice and anomosity come from someone who is a member of a minority. I'm very sad to see Republic politics continually sinking to a new low. He has no place in politics or business.

    April 12, 2012 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  10. Expat American

    That's so funny...the GOP needs more of their crazies to speak up like this. I like the show. And thanks to real time global media; the rest of the world can join in and laugh at the Republican Party of Liars, Criminals and War Mongers.

    April 12, 2012 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  11. Wake up people

    @bc runner, you are so right about Gov. Snyder here in Michigan, he is definitely a dictator. He is trying to take over Detroit, and his first thing he did after being sworn into office was attack the pensions on retired people and cut 11,000 families off welfare. Don't get me wrong, welfare reform was needed but the way he did it and the timing was very unfair and it left a lot of children in very dire straits. They attempted to recall him but the rethugs always have a plan, not one petition ever made it to the City of Detroit, all were in the suburbs where he is very popular.

    OBAMA 2012!

    April 12, 2012 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  12. v_mag

    Smell the fear in the Repugnant Party! Next thing you know, some wild-eyed Repugs will be calling the President a communist and a fascist and a child molester and anything else their scared little brain-like organs can conjure up. When they do, I hope their vulnerable, gullible base will remember some of the other scares that didn't quite pan out, e.g., "Obama is gonna take away our guns!"

    April 12, 2012 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  13. RON Ron nnz

    Another idiot Republican. They are a party without a purpose

    April 12, 2012 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  14. Expat American

    Actually, this pretty much makes Allen qualified to run for the Republican nomination for President.

    All you need to do is Lie like a Republican, and/or Lie like a rug.

    April 12, 2012 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  15. D

    Alan West is a disgrace to the office he holds and to our country, as a whole.

    April 12, 2012 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  16. Luis

    Commies on the left, nazi's on the right.....no wonder they can't get anything done with such a divide.

    April 12, 2012 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  17. The Real Truth and Nothing But the The Real Truth

    The fact is the Democrat Party has been taken over by far left "progressives" that don't look, act or sound too much different from European socialists or communists. They advocate much of the policies. They spew much of the same leftist rhetoric.

    So if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, well most people will think you're a duck! Problem is the leftists NEVER want to be called exactly what they are because a vast majority of people would run screaming from them so they market themselves as something else. If their beloved government bureacracy imposed truth in labelling laws on the Democrats, they would FAIL the requirements. Smoke and mirrors are their lifeblood!

    April 12, 2012 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  18. AKsteve

    Does anyone really wonder which party is responsible for the bitter partisan divide in Washington? And really, communist? What decade are we in? I thought they were socialist anyway? They can't be both.

    What a bunch a name calling, whining and spoiled babies. Grow and do your job you uneducated narcissistic buffoon. (Yes, you can be all three... it is call being a member of the GOP).

    April 12, 2012 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  19. judy

    when a demo said mitts wife had not worked a day in her life. the repo out cry was heard all over. But accusing democrats of being communist by this repo idiot is ok. This republican party is so corrupt that they all need to be voted out. They are trying to bring down this country with the remarks they make about the president and the way they obstruct bills that would bring job recovery sooner and help with health care. Move forward not back. Obama 2012 Vote these clowns out.

    April 12, 2012 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  20. Ronnie12345

    Im just going to say it I really hate this man all he does is come out with these stupid over the top statements with no mean he needs to just govern and do his job.

    April 12, 2012 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  21. F Daniel Gray

    What an embarrassment. This clown isn't fit to hold the door open for Vito Marantonio! Let alone hold Benjamin J. Davis's coat: a New York City councilman who was voted back into office by the people of Harlem, even while in jail. Probably can't even spell dialectics. And couldn't understand "surplus value" if explained to him a hundred times. Probably thinks Marx had 2 brothers. A black "tail gunner" Joe McCarthy? Boy, have we come full circle?

    April 12, 2012 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  22. Peter

    When did American politics get so polarized? Clowns like this guy pushing it even harder show the need for a third party intervention. Let's put some real Communists in congress and see how the GOP feels about the Democrats then.

    April 12, 2012 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  23. Laurie in Spokane

    Good lord. Another whacko republican spouting off. Can they offer nothing but such nonsense?

    April 12, 2012 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  24. John

    Is this quote true?
    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

    April 12, 2012 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  25. Ivy

    Explain what communism means to you... To me it's nothing but a defunct theory. I've heard rebugs call democrats anything and everything under the sun... but Communists? West must have a very small vocabulary, and his brain is stuck in the 1980s.

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