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. Thomas

    West has to use fear to coral his supporters !

    Florida sure likes to elect wackos into office.

    April 12, 2012 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  2. Ghost of Common Sense

    The scary part of all of this is that Whackjobs like this on either the right or left believe the baseless drivel spewing forth from these tools. I will have to say that the Tea Party and Right Wingers do seem to own the franchise.
    As the first act of rebellion I would like to see these rabble-rousing, lying sacks of excrement flushed away if for no other reason than to protect the common gene pool.
    West's remarks only underscore the rift between intelligence and pandering to the lowest common denominator. Anyone in a leadership position should look at this fool and see if this is good for our country or just a maniacal pol trying to get ink.
    There ought to be penalties levied against this troll and others of his ilk that squander their opportunity to help right the ship that their short=sighted political goals have torpedoed.
    Where is Charles Bronson when you need him?

    April 12, 2012 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  3. jason

    You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

    April 12, 2012 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  4. estibaliz

    They might as well be. They want to take away our freedoms.

    April 12, 2012 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  5. John John

    When you know you are going to lose an election, the only hope you have is to hurl every insult you can and hope one sticks. The GOP is doomed and the bad judgement of people like him are the reason. It has nothing to do with communists or socialists. It is about rights and freedoms. Something that is stripped away when 70% of the economy is put in 1% of the peoples pockets with false promises that "they will create jobs". Where are the jobs, teabagger?

    April 12, 2012 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  6. Shane McGuire

    Communists? Really? Pulling the McCarthyism card? That's so 1950's! Once again showing just how out of touch those people are.

    April 12, 2012 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  7. Terry

    It amazes me that something idiotic coming out of West's mouth is still news.

    April 12, 2012 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  8. jj

    The socialist Scandinavina countries are the most civilized on earth.

    April 12, 2012 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  9. Leo

    The Democratic Party Demands this man opologize...........For saying we are Communist......

    April 12, 2012 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  10. Two Thumbs Down

    Has he no shame?

    April 12, 2012 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  11. ALF

    Now see, that's just plain crazy, I am a retired veteran and I would never say this about the leadership of our country no matter how I felt of what office I was trying to acquire. When we take these oaths they are for a lifetime, I am a female vet and I do take offense to his statement just because he was affiliated with the military. Many people around the world watch our news they listen to what we say and to make asn off the cuff statement like that is deplorable. He has his right to the first amendmendment, but man get your head screwed on right. If people don't know by now that every word that comes out of your mouth will be under scrutiny, "you better ask somebody" and start paying attention to detail of what you say. They talk about when the President has to apologize or back peddle it seems as though so do a Whooole lot of other people. Hmm maybe he doesn't know what communism means.

    April 12, 2012 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  12. hannah

    This will be one of the most contentious elections in history I predict. They, the corporitists want the power back, to continue to get rid of unions, all safety nets, public education, further decimating the middle class to the point where we are slaves to the wealthy, which we are now.

    April 12, 2012 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  13. Mike Breen

    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?
    None...but I did see one holding hands with a Saudi prince, with a love sick look that would have done justice to a teen age girl swooning at Elvis or the Beatles...

    April 12, 2012 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  14. polycarp pio

    I believe his estimate on the number of communist/sympathizers is way to conservative. PP

    April 12, 2012 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  15. dzaffina

    Back in nineteen-fifty, a formerly obscure freshman senator named Joe McCarthy charged that there were eighty-one Communists working in the U.S. State Department.

    April 12, 2012 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  16. dzaffina

    Calling fellow members of Congress Communists is something that should cause West’s own party to, at the very least, censure him.

    But we live in an age where it has somehow become to permissible to openly suggest that the President of the United States is a traitor and a secret Muslim radical born in Kenya.

    Reckless disregard for the truth and human rights are corroding our freedom of speech.

    April 12, 2012 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  17. dzaffina

    Herman Cain echoes Sarah Palin, Nikki Haley: Allen West would be an “excellent choice” for VP....................

    so this guy could wind up being president....... scary.

    April 12, 2012 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  18. CBR

    Rep. West needs to go back to school to take a class in government. My college political science course had a wonderful section on the isms. Perhaps this would help him to get his facts straight.

    April 12, 2012 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  19. PTBarnumboy

    How did this nutcase ever get elected to the congress? Surely the people of Florida were misled.

    April 12, 2012 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  20. RWB1956

    Sadly, by tommorow this guys comments will be repeated as truth on this blog and taken as the truth. Why does the tea party seem to pull out a black to insult the democrats, hmmm?

    April 12, 2012 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  21. Jm

    I hope Mitt makes the call. Probably the best thing for Democrats since W.

    Is it me, or are the Republicans just that damn dumb?

    I'll stick with Obama, because the GOP is just too extreme on a lot of issues. If not this guy, how about Santorum?

    April 12, 2012 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  22. tiki51

    please oh please oh please pick this guy as your running mate mr romney

    April 12, 2012 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  23. garc

    Communists?! Really? More proof that the republican party is completely unaware even of what year it is.

    April 12, 2012 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  24. Larry - Hazleton, Pa

    This man (west) is a disgrace and should be ran out of town.

    April 12, 2012 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  25. Dennis1020

    If there are any responsible and reasonable Republicans left out there you had better get back control before it is too late. These syphyllitic Tea Party folks are taking your Party down the same path as the Whig Party of yore.

    April 12, 2012 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
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