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. Malory Archer

    The truth is a tough pill to swallow, you should follow your own advice and look up the meaning of the word.

    April 12, 2012 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  2. obandon

    It is a shame that WTF seems to feel that anyone with an opinion different from his is lazy and on the dole. There are many of us who are hard working reasonable people who actually have a mind of our own and believe this is America where we are free, including free to speak how we feel just as he does. Stop the name calling and grow up. Mr. West needs to do the same. This guys comments gag me. Too bad so many of those on the right feel they are the only people on the planet that have the right to have their own opinions!

    April 12, 2012 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  3. FastBoat

    West's re-election coffers must be getting empty. Time to drum up some cash. What a pea brain.

    April 12, 2012 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  4. Brian

    If this guy is selected by Romney as his VP, Obama won't even need to campaign.

    April 12, 2012 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  5. Larry L

    @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?"
    Ronald Regan supported a progressive tax code. Was he a communist?

    April 12, 2012 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  6. John

    Allen West had to switch districts because he can't even get reelected in his current district. He got in during a low turnout non-presidential election year because he was backed by these Tea Party nutjobs. He has accomplished absolutely nothing in congress other than to keep his name in the news making outrageous and stupid comments. He is an embarassment to the country and was forced out of the military for puttting a gun to a civilians head. Lets hope he loses his next bid for office and disappears from public life once and for all and takes Palin with him.

    April 12, 2012 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  7. harry zoyster

    Obama and his buddy Van Jones got their cards a long time ago.

    April 12, 2012 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  8. harry zoyster

    He's merely stating the obvious. Don't deny it Libs. Liberalism is a disease of the mind.

    April 12, 2012 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  9. dave

    The quotation about 'History Repeating Itself' still lives on...Congratulations, Mr West on the return of the McCarthy era. It was stupid then and it is stupid now...and, although, technically you are an intelligent man, Mr West, YOU ARE STUPID.

    April 12, 2012 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  10. John Baptist

    According to the lifestyles, comments and voting records of a large group of congressmen, Mr. West is being very generous in calling them Communist. Besides, why are they ashamed in public for their actions in secret?

    April 12, 2012 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  11. Marie MD

    How many communist countries are left in the world?
    Didn't Nixon, a republican, start the trading of goods with China.

    April 12, 2012 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  12. JustInTime

    Needs to be in the limelight. Ignore him – he's a puppet.

    April 12, 2012 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  13. Reggie from LA

    Since when is Allen West an authority on anything? He's just a walkin' talkin' angry man, bent on being more of an agitator than legislator. Typical, dragging himself out of the quagmires of his past and there are those of you who think he's great. He is not and you shouldn't forget that.

    April 12, 2012 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  14. Larry L

    @Common Sense

    "If you spout Marxist dogma then you're a Marxist"
    Only a modern conservative would try to spread hatred and divisiveness with fear-mongering of a failed ideology. Look up "classic elite theory" and see if that shoe doesn't fit the Republican Party. While your at it please try to name one society where laissez faire capitalism actually worked or even existed. Ostensibly, that is the goal of the trickle-down economics the Republican fat-cats promote. Where has it ever existed and worked? That's a fair question.

    April 12, 2012 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  15. Wow

    Rep. West is only stating the obvious and there are so many people blind to what is happening. It is a shame there are so many people so willing to hand over our freedom after so many died to preserve it.

    April 12, 2012 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  16. Church of Suicidal

    Have we learned nothing from McCarthy?

    April 12, 2012 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  17. Deanna

    People need to wake up. The Congressional Progressive Congress is for the very things that most Americans are against. If you want to live like that – move to a country that works that way. Their ideas are NOT the American way.

    April 12, 2012 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  18. Deanna

    Also, Allen West is just calling a spade a spade.

    April 12, 2012 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  19. mom4hope

    CNN Democrats are "outraged" at West's communism statement. Please write that story. Because you make sure you let people know every time the Republicans are upset about something. We are horrified by the Republicans outlandish at attacks on our democracy. They have refused to work with a sitting POTUS, they have tried to demonize all things liberal and have effectively broken American Democracy. DEMOCRATS ARE OUTRAGED AT WEST'S COMMUNISM ACCUSATIONS! Write that Story CNN.

    April 12, 2012 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  20. Larry L

    @harry zoyster

    "He's merely stating the obvious. Don't deny it Libs. Liberalism is a disease of the mind."
    Today Ronald Regan would be a "liberal". The modern right-wing ideology is best alligned with that of the Nazi Party. The radical right-wing has destroyed the Republican party and it's chances of electing a President.

    April 12, 2012 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  21. WhackyWaco

    You are on the mark West.

    April 12, 2012 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  22. RBTL

    McCarthyism pure and simple. Alan West will join the chorus of other Republicans who cross the line of decency, ignore the real issues and do whatever it takes to get elected or re-elected. What I don't think they realize though is how extreme they have become and what a turn off it's become to the average voter who does not drink the ultra conservative Republican kool-aid.

    April 12, 2012 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  23. dsangiovanni

    Fidel Castro could consider that to be an insult...

    April 12, 2012 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  24. Talmonis

    Republicans like West and Limbaugh and Beck, all deserve Communists kicking down their doors for the amount of stupid BS that flies from their mouths daily. They cry Communism! Communism! every time someone tries to do something for the poor in this country. It's time we give it to them. Listen to the little piggies squeal then.

    April 12, 2012 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  25. slewatha

    Exhuming McCarthy...

    April 12, 2012 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
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