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. JB

    Man we're going backwards fast. In a few months, there may be literal, and not just figurative, witch hunts. GOP really needs to clean its house of all these TP whack jobs.

    April 12, 2012 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  2. sparknut

    West obviously has no idea what he is talking about. He wouldn't know a real communist if he hit him in the nose.

    That being said, it was the huge gap between the rich and poor that made communist revolutions attractive. Since that gap is widening in the US, we may be heading for trouble. Maybe the middle class will wake up and realize that the GOP only cares about the wealthy and vote them down before there is trouble on the streets.

    April 12, 2012 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  3. Larry L

    @The Real Truth and Nothing But the The Real Truth

    "How many US Presidents have you seen give a Russian Minister a wink and a nod while tapping him on the leg and promising to be "more flexible" after the election?"
    When meeting with Valdimar Putin in 2007, President Bush is shown sitting quite close and tightly gripping his hand. He was quoted as saying "I looked the man in the eye. I found him to be very straight forward and trustworthy and we had a very good dialogue. I was able to get a sense of his soul."

    I thought they were going to need to get a room... Oh I forget... Bush never existed in your world..

    April 12, 2012 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  4. blilli

    Dan, History or not, what you're saying does not apply to any of our Congresspeople here in the United States in 2012. No one but West and his rabble-rousing Tea Party supporters believe it–except maybe...you.

    April 12, 2012 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  5. Candy Taylor

    These Nutjobs in congress are sooooo ridiculous if i was a conspiracy nut I'd say they were democratic plants to make sure Dems sweep in 2012!

    April 12, 2012 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  6. basketcase

    I can't wait for all the old geezers from the cold war to finally move on so that terms like "communist," "socialist," and "marxist" can return to their actual definitions rather than being "insults" randomly hurled at one's opponents.

    April 12, 2012 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  7. NateFromIndiana

    This sort of red-baiting makes me very sad, perhaps because it doesn't surprise me in the least.

    April 12, 2012 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |

    are all republicans crazy?

    allen west=Colonel Stinkmeaner from the boondocks

    I always thought Sarah Palin was the dumbest on the planet, but I
    believe she takes a back seat to this very ridiculous man. Nothing that
    ever comes out of his mouth makes any sense.

    Allen West you won the first time with the tea party support, you won't
    win this time. All you are doing is not being paid attention to. Your
    lies won't get you the election in the new district, that you moved to
    to win the right to be in congress.

    April 12, 2012 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  9. Dan

    Is that like Nazis in the GOP?

    April 12, 2012 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  10. Dave J

    Hey West! If you don't have anything that is truthful or sensible to say, why don’t you shut the -- up. Nobody likes to listen to idiots or hear from them

    April 12, 2012 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  11. dnick47

    Why do the Republican's rage? We have not had true Capitalism in ages, if ever in this Republic. There is and have been subsudises and grants since the 1790's True lazzie faire Capitalism has never existed except in the minds of some die hards. Anytimes it has been remotely tried it has failed and failed miserably. The economic crashes from 1800 to 1929 were regular and predictable... greed fostered each and everyone of them. Since 1929 American business has enjoyed the protestion of a social democtratic economic system: yes, every industry is and has participated and new industries are quick to get into the circle. Why, because there are lavish benefits which translate into lavish salaries for executives who can COUNT on a lavish retirement if the grease the pockets of Congress person's like Allen. No one is about to bite the hand the feeds it. The Communist label is and has been nothing more then a ploy to delfect inquires into the system: Eisenhower even warned against it in 1961 in his farewell speech to the nation. Finall, its easy to see why Allen never made senior grade and thank God he didn't such an idiot would have slaughtered thousands of soldiers by the gross stupidity.

    April 12, 2012 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  12. ifonly

    Communism: " advocacy of a classless society in which private ownership has been abolished and the means of production and subsistence belong to the community" I would prefer our congress espoused this view rather than a society where control over production and subsistence is controlled by the few, while others toil, struggle, and starve.

    April 12, 2012 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  13. Jules

    The new Joe McCarthy is a member of the GOP – what a shockeroo that is!

    April 12, 2012 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  14. slave2liberty

    Conveniently, the reporter fails to mention that Joe McCarthy has since been vindicated. Also, do you notice how leftists will distance themselves from Marxist/Communist labels but are incapable of making a distinction from their own anti-liberty progressive beliefs and the former?

    April 12, 2012 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  15. Rooscow

    These "old school" facists just can't get over the fact that the cold war is dead.

    April 12, 2012 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  16. Im the dumb one

    Wow.....can't believe this is happening in 2012....when the debate is lost.....the loser resorts to slander

    April 12, 2012 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  17. Anonymous

    Jesus Christ, can these tea potty people be any more ignorant? Vote these ignorant fools out of office NOW. Before they destroy the USofA. Does everyone remember the teaparty members of congress and candidate bachmann saying "LET AMERICA DEFAULT ON ITS DEBTS"

    April 12, 2012 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  18. once upon a horse

    one thing I have noticed when you have an African American Republican that is trying to appeal to the far right.......they seem to say some of the most outlandish stuff you have ever heard of. Look at Alan Keyes, Herman Cain, Clarence Thomas, and now Allen West. Mike Steele was not THAT bad if you look at him. These guys seem to think in order to be accepted they not only have to "out-right the right" but make sure they say things that, well you know other DEmocrat AA would not say. None of these guys, except for maybe Steele could even show their faces in an African American community. West might be putting on a show....either that or he just plain crazy.

    April 12, 2012 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  19. Iamnotfooled

    Florida-correct your mistake . He's an embarassment.

    April 12, 2012 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  20. viranka

    Mr. West it takes Marxist to know a Marxist.

    April 12, 2012 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  21. spenteco

    Affirmative action promotions in U.S. Army really backfired on this psych nut job. At least the Army realized their mistake and kicked this quack out of the service. He is a disgrace to the House of Representatives. He is in the right caucus, the blowhard do -nothing- but- talk teabaggers. A real man this one.

    April 12, 2012 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  22. lensmith

    This congressman should be called down and made to prove what he is saying. Is the list in his vest pocket, much like the one McCarthy never produced? Hold his feet to the fire.

    April 12, 2012 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  23. Gary, Hunt Valley, Md.

    Ah, Florida. The state that just keeps on giving........and delivering bat-- crazy characters like this. Well done, citizens. Ah, Florida, always de-volving.

    April 12, 2012 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  24. maltytasker

    West is another in a long line of Republican politicians to show this country how dysfunctional the GOP is. Heaven help us if they gain more power in the coming elections.

    April 12, 2012 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  25. Rich

    Poor guy doesn't know the TP is using him for now but not for long

    April 12, 2012 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
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