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. David Ellis

    He says that a certain group has communist ideals.

    Commentator selection:
    from Republicans are Neanderthals: Mr. EraserHead never knows when to keep his big mouth shut.
    from Malory Archer: 1. freakout about military ranks. 2. Now go play over there while the grownups converse.
    from Jeff: Ignorant Moron.
    from Lando: I'll takie a communist than a terrorist like this punk..

    and that' just on the first page.

    April 12, 2012 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  2. Mark from Canada

    Don't read the posts. They are filtered. You cannot post real or insightful information about these articles. CNN filters the material so that you get a dumbed down readership. I'm a Marxist scholar and wrote a respectable post, it didn't even get flagged for moderation. It was just deleted – gone. For years I have spent a great amount of time and effort putting my honest ideas down in this posts. It is a 50:50 chance that they will make it. When I follow-up with a stupid angry response – guaranteed this gets posted. The process skews people's opinions on what others think about these articles. People are better off not reading the posts and boycotting CNN, but unlikely that will happen. Let's see if this dumb post makes it through.

    April 12, 2012 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  3. Pete

    Funny, but the fastest growing economy in the world is Communist China's.

    April 12, 2012 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  4. bear79

    this guy doesn't even know what communism is! To put it as plainly as possible- communism = no government. Sounds like an ultra-conservative's wet dream.

    April 12, 2012 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  5. bear79

    this guy doesn't even know what communism is! To put it as plainly as possible- communism = no government. Sounds like an ultra-conservative's dream.

    April 12, 2012 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  6. Mary in AZ

    Scary!!!! Had an encounter with a resident in our community who called me a freakin' radical because I am a retired educator. He then went on to say that he is definitely not a racist because he really believes in and respects Mr. West. Hmmm...makes one wonder doesn't it!? What has happened to the Republican party?!

    April 12, 2012 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  7. paul

    Where do these guys get this stuff. All sanity is lost.

    April 12, 2012 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  8. The Real Truth and Nothing But the The Real Truth

    Gert – Communism is a social economic policy, not an adjective for evil.

    Tell it to the millions Stalin and Mao murdered. Read some history please!

    Gert -If anything Communism is downright Christian.

    Except religion is banned as it is a threat to the power of the government.

    Gert – Everyone shares in everything equally

    True, except all there is to share is poverty and misery. Oh yeah, and waits in line for a pound of sugar
    and 6 ouces of lard.

    April 12, 2012 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  9. ella

    Michael Smith

    He seems to be blind to the fact that his Republican cohorts are trying to establish a Fascist system to replace the USA democracy.

    You say that like it is bad. That is what good republicans should hope for. It accomplishes all of the goals.

    April 12, 2012 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  10. Thomas

    What went wrong with Florida Rep. Allen West ?

    Ask his bother in Atlanta , he know's !

    April 12, 2012 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  11. Malory Archer

    David Ellis, it's disrespectful to call someone by the wrong rank. As the spouse of a career military man who retired with an honorable discharge and who never disgraced the military, I can tell you it's disrespectful to anyone in uniform to elevate someone of this guy's disgracefulness to a higher rank. But keep it up – rethugliban ignorance is bliss for the rest of us!

    April 12, 2012 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  12. David

    Wow, only 80. I thought it would be alot more than that.

    April 12, 2012 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  13. papanez

    Where does the GOP find these geniuses?

    April 12, 2012 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  14. UrAverageJoe

    Clearly Congressman West and the rest of the Republican Party do not support the Socialist Program called Social Security. They will do everything they can to eliminate it. They also do not support the Socialist Medicare System, the Socialist Public School system, the Socialist Fire Departments. I love how he says Europe is on the brink of collapse. Germany is a strong Socialist Country and doing way better with their Socialist policies than we are.

    April 12, 2012 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  15. Marcus

    Excuse me, but isn't this guy the one who shot a bullet in the direction of a subdued prisoner (next to his head) in order to get (useless) info about an non-existant plan of attack against him and his men?
    Seems like he's still doing things before thinking and rationalizing about what he's doing, why he's doing it, how he's doing it and the consequences of his acts...

    April 12, 2012 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  16. Jack

    What can you say? I have never heard anything more STUPID in my life. How in God's name do these idiots get elected? This man needs to get on meds–and soon.

    April 12, 2012 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  17. scott

    Yeah....I miss Clinton too.

    April 12, 2012 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  18. john

    Why doesn't the Republican leadership denounce this kook and show real leadership? It's not within them to do so. This kook is their true mouthpiece and not Limbaugh ( the real pillsbury doughboy)

    April 12, 2012 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  19. jokerster

    Well, Mr. West if I was you, I wouldn't be sitting by the phone waiting for that phone call......as far as I'm concerned, I really hope you don't win your re-election...what a horrible thing to say...

    April 12, 2012 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  20. guarg

    Mark from Canada,

    I feel for ya. I have been deleted for years here. the common theme for my deleted posts is when I cut through the partisan name calling and point out that a third party would solve these problems. Since the post doesn't involve trolling it gets deleted. Most posts that make it are liberals calling republicans fascists (which shows the limited educational quality of America's universities) and conservatives calling democrats commies (which shows a failure in our education system as a whole).

    Odds are good this post will make it because the moderator will skim and see republican and fascist next to each other.

    April 12, 2012 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  21. m,garrett

    when republicans win,working people always lose.

    April 12, 2012 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  22. urthat

    Is Florida Rep. Allen West the new Joe McCarthy?

    April 12, 2012 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  23. Dan5404

    I think we have seen our first black redneck! Even the communist party rejects his statement as complete nonsense. Don't you think if they got a Congressman to join the party, they'd be touting it everywhere?

    April 12, 2012 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  24. Investment Advisor

    "Communists" may be a little to the extreme right now but Rep West recognizes which way the tide is headed. The CPC definitely leans that way a little too much for comfort. More control by our government cannot be a good thing unless....unless you depend on that government to financially support you through your life. Please tell me where that fits in to the American Dream> The CPC would say that is the AD. Sad!

    April 12, 2012 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  25. Dr. Knowitall

    @ Michael Smith "a Fascist system "
    WHere did you go to scholl ? Fascism is a step down the ladder from Socialism. They are cousins not opposites. Freedom and self reliance are not part of either of their views.

    April 12, 2012 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
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