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. mack

    He is just another deadbeat borrow and spend George Bush Republican trying to blame democrats for the mess they created.

    April 12, 2012 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  2. m

    This is the backwards thinking that is going on in the gop these days. They all want to go back to the 1950's or earlier when "fear" was the main weapon. It worked then because information was not easily accessible. There was not internet, there was not WikiLeaks, no disclosure laws. Fear & hate will not work in the modern world, there is to much information available to the general population. Unfortunately this kind of behavior does pander to a certain minority but we can all hope that minority shrinks over time.

    April 12, 2012 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  3. allens

    just allen trying to get attention. he is thinking, if palin can run for v.p., i can certainly do it. maybe he should talk to santorum. oh that's right he is gone, maybe cain, oh, he is gone as well. maybe newt, oh he is also kinda of sort of gone. even romney is not that crazy. guess you will have to wait for the next election and run as president. we will need a good laugh by then.

    April 12, 2012 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  4. NotFooledByDistractions

    Allen West – the face and the voice of todays republican party. I'm sure Joseph McCarthy is standing and applauding, wherever he ended up.

    He's a disgrace.

    April 12, 2012 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  5. jstout511

    Regarding members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus defending themselves, it reminds me of the quote from Hamlet, thou "[the lady] doth protest too much, methinks."

    April 12, 2012 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  6. Hair bear

    Another politician who has lost his roots! Just trying to fit in!

    April 12, 2012 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    The new Joe McCarthy and the old Joe are right on the money. You never hear of the Communist Party because they took over the Democratic Party. The Communist can stop hiding behind the Democrat label. We know what you are, traitors. The Communist Party line and the Democratic Party line are one and the same.

    April 12, 2012 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  8. Reality

    This guy isn't fit for his job considering he doesn't know what a communist is.

    April 12, 2012 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  9. cecilia

    I hope I live long enough to see every tea party member gone gone far away or at least not talking

    April 12, 2012 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  10. ED FL

    I doubt that West will have a pre fix to his name after the november election. or at leat a prefix that can be printed in a newspaper.

    April 12, 2012 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  11. stevehc1

    To the Republican National Committee: Please, please, PLEASE let this juvenile crackpot become your party's Vice Presidential nominee... please?!!!

    April 12, 2012 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  12. Dee

    I can't believe this guy was a high ranking officer in the service with this type of rhetoric coming from his mouth.
    He is out of control and reality this is outrageous.

    April 12, 2012 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  13. JP

    Calling them Socialist would been correct as the Progressive Caucus does advocate an ALL POWERFUL FED.

    April 12, 2012 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  14. Steve

    Another nut-job who should not be doing the business of Congress. Those who elected him must be proud.

    April 12, 2012 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  15. M.K.

    We will all be in the Communist Party or dead, if we keep sending all our manufacturing jobs to Communist China. The so- called Republican entrepreneurs are the ones primarily responsible for this happening in an attempt to kill union labor in this country and have their goods made with child labor at slave wages. Isn't it ironic that it is the Tea Party anointed Republican from Florida that is trying to use this old McCarthyism stunt for political reasons. If a lot of folks had to choose between Communism and the Republican Party it would be a tough call. Republicans are not anything except anti- American Zealots.

    April 12, 2012 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  16. Auggiedoggy

    Truth hurts, but sometimes pointing out the obvious serves the National interest. Kids have no idea what Communism/Marxism is – maybe now they'll look it up online and expand their minds to the Socialist tilt the country is taking.

    April 12, 2012 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  17. Auggiedoggy

    Communism, Marxism, Socialism. All bundled into one word – Democrat. A rose by any other name.

    April 12, 2012 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  18. Georgia Tee

    People like West, prove that getting a great education, in no way makes you very smart.....

    April 12, 2012 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  19. vs101

    Hillary Rosen has to apologize for saying something that was true, while this moron can get away with this vile, comtemptible nonsense? There will be a reckoning in the next elections.

    April 12, 2012 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  20. Thom Real American patriot

    Shrek called. He wants his donkey back.

    April 12, 2012 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  21. Independent Thinker

    It is the left that has been demonstrating authoritarian, totalitarian, and fascist behaviors. It is mainly the left that wants to shut down speech that goes against their beliefs. And on subsidies, I say get rid of all of them and decrease the corporate tax rates. The way the current tax code is set up, it gives a huge advantage to the large international corporations over the smaller domestic corporations and small businesses. And we no longer have the luxury of having the highest tax rates as the United States is no longer the sole economic gorilla in the global economy. Having the highest tax "rates" would mean economic suicide for the US.

    April 12, 2012 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  22. enuff

    Next they will be demanding a committee investigation and demanding names and having people "out" others to protect themselves. Then they will be blacklisted and not allowed to work... Oh wait... didn't that already happen once? Those who don't study history are doomed to repeat it.

    April 12, 2012 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  23. NameLib hater

    Just calling it like it is.

    April 12, 2012 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  24. John

    I guess now the little ole black boy is going to tell us he was brought up in a little old shack and his mammy worked in the cotton fields and he had to walk to school with no shoes

    April 12, 2012 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  25. jennifer in Houston

    A true yoyo... what more evidence do we need for us to believe that the right wingnuts of the Republican party are DANGEROUS to this great nation.

    April 12, 2012 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
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