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. Ron

    Sad that this is the representation that gets elected to Congress. Too bad he didn't name them so they could all sue him for defamation of character.

    April 12, 2012 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  2. sjenner

    West's characterization is wrong. But having reviewed the literature available on the Congressional Progressive Caucus website, this comment is accurate: "This group [the Congressional Progressive Caucus] advocates for state control over industries, redistribution of wealth, reduced individual economic freedom and the destruction of free markets." It's very clear that the Caucus believes in and advocates centralized control and central planning, and does not believe in the ability of free markets and industries to generate optimal results. But here's the flip side: the Caucus is at least honest about it.

    April 12, 2012 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  3. Liberalator

    West should be censured from the Congress immediately.

    Since when, in a democratic society, individuals need to defend their stance on issues to someone like West.

    If the Democrats are "communists" then the Repsublicans are "fascists" for calling the Democrats "communists". Bernie Sanders. who I admire for his patriotism and honesty is a "socialist"; so be it. If the voters of Vermont are OK with that then the rest of the country should be also.

    Do we live in a democracy or what?


    April 12, 2012 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  4. 1212

    Marxist have taken a page out of sci-fi horror novels. If vampires were real, they would rather the world not know they actually exist. Unfortunately, Marxist ideologues happen to be real though. West may as well said vampires infiltrated in the democratic party. "A spokesman for the Communist Party USA said Wednesday that the remarks are "not the epithet it once was." If it is not the epithet it once was, does that mean the core of the communist belief is no longer Marxism? Sorry West, but the "vampires" have control of the media now and will paint anyone who tries to expose them as a tin foil hat version of Van Helsing. McCarthy was the best thing to ever happen to the Marxist philosophy as his over zealotry gave them the cover they needed to further their cause.

    April 12, 2012 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  5. Pam from Iowa

    a) These wing-nut Repubs have no scruples at all! Such desperation!!!
    b) it is not against the law to be a Communist
    c) Communists may be preferable to Republicans who want to take away every right we have!!

    April 12, 2012 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  6. Two and They're Through

    Reactionary Goddess Sarah Palin chooses the neo-fascist Allen West as her favored Republican Vice-Presidential nominee. When Reichsfuhrer Limbaugh gives the order, Romney will be required to obey.

    April 12, 2012 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  7. swschrad

    this West is badly in need of some education... he's dumber than a stump if he believes that nonsense.

    April 12, 2012 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  8. p

    Vote this creep OUT!

    April 12, 2012 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  9. WTF

    Allen West hits the nail squarely on it's head again. The Progressive Caucus and their socialist agenda make me cringe ... good call Rep. West

    April 12, 2012 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  10. JohnRJohnson

    Is it possible to expel a member of Congress on the grounds that he has displayed symptoms of mental illness? If it is, this guy needs to be walked out of the building immediately.

    April 12, 2012 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  11. WTF

    @Pam from Iowa – while it may not be against the law to be Communist, it is the antithesis of the free principals this country was founded on. Plus, I bet it's time for you to log off the computer and head down to your local Welfare office to pick up your foodstamps. Hard working people like me are tired of busting our butts so people like you can espouse 'wealth distribution'. Ugh, throw the damn socialists out in 2012!

    April 12, 2012 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  12. Malory Archer

    France, Italy and all those other nations were doing just fine until their economies tanked due to the failed U.S. credit swaps their governments purchased. If anyone is to blame for the EU's financial meltdown, it's the good ol' US of A.

    April 12, 2012 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  13. CBR

    This whole story smacks of a publicity stunt. Rep West makes these remarks and they are quoted everywhere and he is stirring up controversy. His name is in headlines and that is exactly what he wants.

    Interestingly enough, his fellow Republicans do not seem to support him nor do they renounce him. One might ask why except this is just what the GOP likes. Get the press to focus on a non-issue so they can follow through on their own agendas. The press is busy with Rep West and will not notice.

    April 12, 2012 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  14. Saddened

    Two things about this are disappointing. 1. That we can't have a discourse on political matters and policy issues without immediately going to name calling – it's the way today. 2. That the media pays so much attention to the name calling and gives it so many headlines that it only goes to further the disappointing actions. Our country deserves better, but it's people are getting what they deserve. You want to be a reality show culture that is more into crafting the best insults and attacks than actually trying to advance our culture and lift up our country – well, then you deserve what you get. I'm hopeful that this will run its course, like all things do, but I'm not sure we've hit our apex yet and are probably a long way from the down slope.

    April 12, 2012 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  15. Sametestsameresults

    I love it when the GOP elects total foot in mouth candidates, we democrats get to sit back and watch them alienate the American ppl in general. I am not taking about the 2 million that listen to RUSH L. but the sane Americans.

    April 12, 2012 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  16. Kyle

    He's right of course, Dems are Progressive Liberal Communists, Republicans are Christian National Socialists. There's your two choices there... Do you want to live in Nazi Germany, or the Soviet Union?

    April 12, 2012 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  17. The truth is a tough pill to swallow.

    If it walks like a communist acts like a communist.... must be a communist. What are you democrats so affraid of. Maybe you should all look up the definition of communist. The truth sometimes is a tough pill to swallow.

    April 12, 2012 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  18. Ron Scooby

    Rep West, have you no sense of decency?

    April 12, 2012 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  19. Tom from Canonsburg

    This is GOP strategy from many years back. Even Reagan used this way back in the 50's during the McCarthy era. They repeat something over & over until the people not really paying attention believe it. Then those that dare counter them on these things are called many things, the least of which is un-patriotic. Remember 'W' saying you are either with us or against us. We should be able to make them liable for these things, especially those we elect to represent us. They should be held to a higher standard of telling the truth in any public forum. In these times of trouble, the American people both need and deserve the truth.

    April 12, 2012 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  20. gar


    Republicans are like Nazis on acid.

    April 12, 2012 08:45 am at 8:45 am"


    April 12, 2012 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  21. Alan J

    This jerk can't be Real, right? He's got to be the male Palin of the GOP! It sickens me he's African American because that's Not how we talk about people.

    April 12, 2012 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  22. ypsifan

    MOre blantant lying batcrap dripping out of the mouth of a right-wing extremeist

    April 12, 2012 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  23. Potrzebie

    Holy mackerel what an idiot. All I can hear is Senator Johnny Iselin railing "There are 52 known card-carrying communists in the United States Congress!"

    April 12, 2012 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  24. Brian

    This is the same guy who wanted to physically fight a woman senator, correct? 'Nuff said.

    April 12, 2012 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  25. ypsifan

    More blantant lying batcrap drooling out of the mouth of a right-wing extremeist

    April 12, 2012 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
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