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. jbmar1312

    There is a large number of dems in congress that are trying to promote marxist agendas such government controlled industry and redistribution of wealth. What gives one person the right to take what another person has earned or accumalted. Hasn't worked in socialist France and the Russians continue to struggle after nearly a hundred years of it.
    The chinese communist party is getting filthy rich from their control of the chinese economy.

    The day there is enough "progressives" to seriously try to shove this agenda down our throats is the day I will be one of many taking arms up against washington dc and re-introducing tthe declaration of independence to a government gone bad.

    Semper Fi

    April 12, 2012 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  2. Debbie

    Why is it that republicans have to resort to strange and sensational name calling, rather than address real life solutions to problems. The saddest part is that there are so many republicans that vote that believe this kind of crude behavior. But then again, those are the people that forward all of those urban myths to their friends.

    April 12, 2012 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  3. Bob

    Republicans (and democrats have cut taxes to their lowest level in 50 years with the highest income earners paying their lowest tax rates for almost 100 years and somehow people are being labelled as communists. Schools are failing, infrastructure is crumbling, America is losing and somehow the blame falls on overspending? When did ignorance take over the GOP?

    April 12, 2012 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  4. Gary

    We are just finishing the nastiest GOP primary ever. What Rep. West has said is closer to the truth than much of what came out of the Romney campaign. And I am a conservative.

    April 12, 2012 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  5. We are ants to them

    Ron Paul 2012!

    He's the difference in this race and the Media + RNC have done everything in their power to stop him from being on the ticket.

    Till this day, Ron pulls crowds of about 5K +, Romney about a few hundred as well as Newt.

    April 12, 2012 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  6. snakebite201

    Isn't it ironic how" truth"causes people to "blow a Gasket". There has been an agenda from the left for years to get to a Euro Stye Democracy and it is no secret.

    April 12, 2012 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  7. caeser

    You don't need term limits,if he's that bad recall him or vote him out in the next election cycle.Besides why would you want to limit someone who actually is good.

    April 12, 2012 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  8. Jesse

    I can name a few that I believe to be communists or at least fellow travelers. In the Senate. Harry Reid. In the House: Nancy Pelosi and the chairman of the DNC.

    April 12, 2012 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  9. joe

    I wondered how long it would be before the right wing loonies would revert back to McCarthyism.

    April 12, 2012 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  10. Todd in DC

    Yeah, if there were any chance of West getting the VP phone call, this pretty much blew it. Besides, republicans will never vote for a black man in to the White House – there are too many of them who still think the Civil War is not over.

    April 12, 2012 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  11. Marcia Greenwood, IN

    Anyone paying attention-obviously NOT West- would realize the President Obama IS a moderate Republican and that most of his policies were actually put forward by the Republican party-even by Romey in the last 10 years. But-the republican party has moved so far right that it is somewhere between Saturn and Neptune

    April 12, 2012 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  12. DE

    This most recent generation of repugs is borderline insane. Some of the dumbest, stupid and compeletely asinine statements have been uttered by these stupes on the right.

    April 12, 2012 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  13. Yakobi

    Although the regressives (they're not "progressives"–their ideas are backwards) may not be true card-carrying Marxists, they certainly are socialists cut from the European cloth. If we listen to them, we'll wind up bankrupt, just like the countries they admire so much.

    April 12, 2012 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  14. James

    And he was nominated to be VP by Sarah Palin.... What does that say about her intelligence? OR HIS????

    April 12, 2012 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  15. Anonymous

    Alan West is spewing caustic, nationalistic attacks on fellow Americans. This is the same type of hatred and fear-mongering used by Hitler.

    April 12, 2012 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  16. mike edelman

    congressman west is either intentionallly seeking headlines or he is revealing himself to be a fool in terms
    of his knowledge of political ideologies..communism, although it has a socialist state controlled economic component
    is in fact a totalitarian system of government which has proven itself a failure...democrats in the congress are not
    communists...the are not marxists..they do not believe in the proletariat overthrowing the burgoise...they may be
    liberal and more convinced that the government should play a larger role in providing a safety net but that is
    hardly communistic...west's comments reinforce the notiion that on the right ...easy one word explanations are preferred to serious discussion and thought on the issues....the man shouldn't be in the congress

    April 12, 2012 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  17. The Real Truth and Nothing But the The Real Truth

    So the Democrats endorse and encourage class struggle and warfare (1% vs 99%) and redistribution of wealth through our tax code. Aren't these prime goals of socialism and communists and the Democrat Party?

    April 12, 2012 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  18. Fair is Fair


    I just checked the Constitution. There is nothing in there stating that you can't be a Communist. Let's see. What are the important concepts for a communist? All people are equal. The government is the tool of the working class, not the other way around. Those who cannot take care of themselves are taken care of by the government (the people). Hmmmm..... sounds really dangerous to me.
    I hear that North Korea, Vietnam, and Cuba have very liberal immigration policies. Why don't you go take them up on it.

    April 12, 2012 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  19. DE

    Of course, a lot of the ignorant stupes on the right will believe this, like they believe everything FAKE News tells them to believe.

    April 12, 2012 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  20. JayDeeZ

    How ridiculous!!! Alan West is using caustic, hate-mongering nationalistic attacks on anyone who disagrees with his ultra-conservative agenda. The far right is trying to take America back to the '50s. This type of nationalistic hyperbole is reminiscent of Hitler.

    April 12, 2012 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  21. KAS

    Wait a second. State control of industry, redistribution of wealth, reduced individual economic freedom and the destruction of free markets. Isn't that what George Bush did? Under his administration tax dollars were used to prop up and buy into failed PRIVATE businesses. The government still owns part of AIG, GM and Ally.

    He redistributed wealth from the middle class to the upper class (yes, we have an upper class in this country), most certainly reduced economic and personal freedoms and killed whatever vestige of free markets were left.

    Rep. West might want to look in the mirror when talking about who did what to reduce the freedoms in this country.

    April 12, 2012 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  22. Patriot

    Just what the country needs, another Joe McCarthy.
    Doesn't it ever occur to the right wing how very sick and warped they are?

    April 12, 2012 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  23. dd316278

    Is he confused with the Republican party members in the state of Michigan???

    April 12, 2012 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  24. Common Sense

    Communism and communists are alive and well in the US and else where...they've just changed names and tactics alittle since the revolution in 1917.The Communist Party was disbanned in 1949 and Clinton lifted the ban in 96'.

    April 12, 2012 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  25. Met

    OK, so what about how the Republicans bow down to Norquist?? What do you call that? He pretty much has the Repubs by the balls, because if they don't do what he says, they lose their job. Isn't it supposed to be the American people who do the hiring and firing of our government officials?

    April 12, 2012 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
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