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. John in Cal

    Another attempt by a GOP member to paint Dems as going to destroy this country and the GOP as the savior of the world. Let's see, taking money from programs that help kids and the elderly, wanting to get rid of any healthcare, and constant attacts on women's rights and equality. I'm sure we can all add more, but I see a pattern here of distruction by the GOP of what should be basic rights.

    April 12, 2012 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  2. xman

    There is really something wrog with this guy

    April 12, 2012 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  3. michelle - san francisco

    i bet this Rep does not even know what 'communism' is...

    April 12, 2012 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  4. Pinkflam

    "Florida Rep labels congressional Democrats as Communists"
    Just another l.i.b.t.a.r.d...l.i.e. They labelled themselves when they joined the "Progressive Caucus".

    April 12, 2012 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  5. sim

    Is this what they have? McCarthyism? Good luck boys–you're going to need it. In the meanwhile my repubican brethren, prepare thyselves for a generous slapdown.

    April 12, 2012 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  6. mike

    Being from Florida I know this Tea Party / Republican member of Congress record. He is a Tea Party nut job and hopefully
    a one term member of Congress. But who knows this is the South and Southerners Have been voting Republican for a
    long time now and shooting themselfs in the foot with every Republican they vote into office . Just sayin !!!

    April 12, 2012 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  7. Patriot Awesome

    Why would he want to go back to 50's when he didn't have any civil rights back then?

    April 12, 2012 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  8. ya right

    I guess instead of working for the people the GoP congress is going to start themselfs a witch hunt again.

    April 12, 2012 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  9. Ed in Reno, Nevada

    If he wants to label some Democrats as Communists, that's fine by me as long as we get to label the Fascist Republicans.

    April 12, 2012 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  10. Guest

    This disgrace shoudl be formally censured by the House and the people of his district should immediately begin the recall process. Such unfounded hyperbole, vicious partisanship and fear mongering does not reflect well on his party, his constituents or the Congress.

    April 12, 2012 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  11. BunnyBunny

    I believe that 78-80 of the republicans are Satanists. They ignore Jesus' commands and make up their own. So it's the truth. Truth to me. Truth to you. Same thing, right?

    April 12, 2012 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    If it wasn't for progressives he wouldn't be in Congress. It's always been progressive minded people that have worked for fairness and equality and not conservative minded people who are happy and would rather things stay the way things are at the current time.

    April 12, 2012 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  13. Tim

    Maybe if congresses answer to everything is to raise taxes instead of cutting spending comments like this would not be made.

    April 12, 2012 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  14. PAW

    This guy has always been a loose cannon. How Republicans can count among their members, gays, women, blacks, middle class, the poor, is beyond me. West must be one of the 1%.

    April 12, 2012 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  15. DRod

    Another crazy Republican attack dog spreading the Fuax-Noises lies. It never surprises me how far the Republican attack dogs are willing to go.

    April 12, 2012 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  16. B

    I guess that they haven’t passed a law against idiots like West getting into politics yet.. he qualifies.

    April 12, 2012 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  17. DRod

    The Republicans are starting to realize they will lose in November and the best thing that can happen is if they can get rid of the Tea Party poison they might have a chance in 2016.

    April 12, 2012 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  18. DRod

    I heard someone mention West as a VP for Romney. That would be priceless. Why no get Dumya Bush instead.

    April 12, 2012 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  19. Hussein Obama

    Starting with Obama, Col. West is absolutely right.

    April 12, 2012 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  20. Debbie

    I've been saying that DeMint was the Joe McCarthy of today but I stand corrected. West is the Joe McCarthy of today. It says quite a bit where the GOP is heading today. This is evidence you have to be very careful who you vote for from Mayor to Representative to Judges, etc.

    April 12, 2012 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  21. Not Fat

    Republicans are so silly.

    April 12, 2012 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  22. Tim

    The Senate has not passed a budget in over 3 years and the Dems have the votes to pass one. But instead of doing their job they neglect their responsibilities. they would rather take shots at Rep Ryan who produced a budget. Not saying I agree with Ryans budget. But it would be nice if the Senate Produced a budget and the 2 sides sat down and compromised and did something that is good for America. however poitics as usual, continue to spend without a budget and a void of leadership leads to comments like this. In the real world you get fired for not doing your job. In the Senate you get re elected

    April 12, 2012 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  23. valwayne

    I have no doubt that a very large percentage of the extreme left wing group of democrats in the House hold such extreme left wing views that they could be accurately described as Marxist or Communist. However, I very much doubt that there are any actual members of the communist party, nor would they describe themselves that way because it would likely be politically unwise. Without absolute proof, what Rep West said was just dumb, and he should never have gone there. Its been suggested that he be considered a VP candidate for Gov Romney. I think he just made sure that it doesn't even get on the list! Rep West needs to be more careful and leave the lies and false charges to Obama and the left!

    April 12, 2012 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  24. Anthony

    So funny everyone only seemed to read the 'Communist" part of his statement and not anything else.

    I guess as long as they have Communist agenda's they cannot even be called Communist anymore huh? Keep up the censorship and fake out rage Lefties.

    April 12, 2012 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  25. Jim Hahn

    This is the same guy who will be on television every 10 to 15 minutes or so during the Republican Convention to show that they are racially diverse. I hope he brings a few dozen changes of clothes with him.

    April 12, 2012 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
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