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. Lynda/Minnesota

    "And where are the GOBP's cult leaders to condemn his baseless and gutless smears? "

    I'm guessing they exhausted themselves over at the Ann Romney / Hilary Rosen article ... they'll have to get back to us regarding Allen West's comments.

    April 12, 2012 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  2. Stan Owen major USMC (ret)

    What a jerk this West is! Americans and congressmen can have different political leanings without this rightous crap.

    April 12, 2012 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  3. sparky

    Hey Idiot, you did nothing harder than jumpmaster school? That's all you have to pin on your 12 dollar suit?

    April 12, 2012 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  4. sck

    Representative West has a point, but if he keeps his hat on, it won't show.

    April 12, 2012 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  5. xirume

    The real issue here is the fact that 90% of Americans haven't a clue about what socialism really is. What people think as socialism is a political doctrine known as "social democracy" and is as far from communism as Christianity is from Satanism. This country needs to get out of this deeply rooted, jaw-dropping ignorance the masses are mucked in, if it is to ever achieve true freedom.

    April 12, 2012 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  6. Jim

    Lets see what problems can we address – jobs, healthcare, Afghanistan, Syria, North Korea, the debt, infrastructure. No, lets talk about communists.

    Congress hard at work again.

    April 12, 2012 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  7. Lynda/Minnesota

    The good news for GOPers is that they ARE progressing, slowly but surely. In the past few months, they've gone from "the Redcoats are coming, the Redcoats are coming to what now amounts to "the reds are coming, the reds are coming". God only knows when they'll finally make it to 2012 ... if ever.

    April 12, 2012 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  8. Renee Marie Jones

    The Republican party ... the party of name calling. I guess when your ideology is bankrupt calling people names is the best you can do.

    April 12, 2012 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  9. Larry L


    "A Socialist Muslim in the white House
    Another good Christian who starts many sentences with "I'm not a racist but....".

    April 12, 2012 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  10. Rich

    sounds alot like Cain.They had a name for people like West that they would let in the house if they snitched...

    April 12, 2012 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  11. Rich

    West is a wanna be

    April 12, 2012 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  12. Dan


    You are right there is a step in-between. Democratic Socialism is a step above true socialism which leads to communism when social services run dry but leaders hang onto ideals and try to force equality across diminishing equal outcomes. Interestingly it all hinges on the size of government. You can have Democratic Socialism never turn into true socialism if the free market production remains larger than the consumption of social government programs. However if the consumption is grown beyond the production then the cycle of diminishing shared goods increases. If government responds by shrinking government to allow for free market production to rebalance at the affordable service level then the social goods provided can be maintained. However if the government begins increasing it revenue like Europe and California then over time the golden goose is cooked. Cooked geese lead to inflationary depression and spawn seeds of anarchy. IF existing government is strong it strengthens its power in the name of peace and can create either communism or other ruler variations. If government is weak you get civil war. These are not my thoughts they are history, repeated again and again over the last milenea...

    April 12, 2012 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  13. Ron

    Democrats and Republicans were all over Rosen for her "poorly chosen" words about Mrs. Romney. She has since apologized. Are the Republicans silent about this smear that West has done? When is he going to either apologize or provide proof of "card carrying communists." If he makes an accusation like that he should be asked to provide proof.

    April 12, 2012 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  14. Don

    This token black men is embarrassing all Uncle Toms alike so he should stop for all Oreo's sake

    April 12, 2012 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  15. Larry L


    "Dr. Knowitall – Fact, neither Fascism nor Communism likes Democracy and Freedom, still call them 'cousins' and say that they are not 'opposites' is one stretch too many."
    You are correct. I think people can google-up Mosca's Classic Elite Theory to see the vision for the fat-cats of the Republican Party. It is neither fascist nor socialist.

    April 12, 2012 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  16. Florida Joe

    Our only comfort is knowing that the people of Palm Beach County will correct their mistake and send this Right Wing Nut HOME for good!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 12, 2012 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  17. John

    Only in Florida could a nut-job like West get elected. Name-calling is an old and dubious form of argumentation when you haven't got a real argument, and not since the 50's has a Congressman used the old "Communist" name-calling smear. McCarthyism lives on! What a jerk.

    April 12, 2012 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  18. FormerMarineSgt

    Wow. Another wacked out on his own hate juice Republican.

    When will the insanity end?

    April 12, 2012 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  19. Jason

    70 -80 are members of The Socialist Party of America

    April 12, 2012 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  20. msudtg

    He obviously doesn't understand Marx or main tenants of communism. Marx above all advocated for a violent overthrow of the bourgeoisie so that the proletariat would assume control of the means of production. Socialism he despised because it slows the inevitable revolution against capitalism. So, the progressive caucus would actually be more hated by Marx because they are placating the Bourgeoisie, if they were true communists they would be militant and advocating for violent revolution. Marx would prefer the extreme right wing because they would make it harder on workers thus expediting the process. It is true that redistribution and state control of the economy are tenants of communism, but they have also been tenants of American Republicanism for the past 100 years. The representative from Florida would have made more sense had he accused members of the progressive caucus as being European socialists, but even that is a stretch.

    April 12, 2012 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  21. Shannon

    Why are Republicans never held accountable for their words. They aren't forced to apologize, they feel no shame or embarrassement, they just lie and lie, and that seems to be just fine with the family values crowd that calls themselves Christians.

    April 12, 2012 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  22. rasjr1957

    Let's see the party that is anti abortion anti clean air anti clean water, anti national health anti gay rights anti workers right, meaning they believe in right to work states, anti women rights anti minimum wage increases, pro trade with china have sent our jobs to china. Where there is slave labor and has never done anything to change it allowed us companies to build pollution machines in china want to get rid of the fda and the epa. Now seriously who's communist oh the republicans.

    April 12, 2012 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  23. JMM

    Hmmm, african american man in America's racist party? Might he be color blind? Calling democrats commies? Laugher. Guy needs to get noticed, and he succeeded. He gets an F for creativity though. What a joke.

    April 12, 2012 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  24. Les

    The industrio-fas-cist GOP is content on destroying the air we breath and the water we drink in the name of the great God Greediguts. I have the right to be free of industry's poisons. Industry thinks it has the "right" to do what they want to do no matter who is hurt.

    Personally I would rather back the ones that are protecting us from industry's abuses. Dems are not opposed to industry. They are opposed to unregulated industry that destroys any thing and anyone in its path in the name of profit.

    April 12, 2012 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  25. LaPlut

    Another tea party dolt that was elected out of fear, his one term is near an end.

    April 12, 2012 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
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