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'

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Crossroads GPS to drop $1.7 million against Obama

Filed under: Allen West • Florida
soundoff (907 Responses)
  1. JP

    and congress is broken why? because of representatives like this. the GOP really needs to find a leader who can control its members

    April 12, 2012 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  2. Cynthia

    Oh, we're so-ooo afraid of Commies! This proves the Republicans have lost all their marbles. If Sarah Palin wasn't delusional before she endorsed this guy (which she was and is), she's gone and slipped on some fish guts and hit her head for certain now.
    Do they realize how much laughter they generate with their sorry excuse for brains?

    April 12, 2012 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  3. nmmell08

    The progressive caucus is card carrying communists? well if that is true then the tea party caucus are card carrying white supremists. Now obviously im overexagerating but you get the point. His commnets are inflammatory and pure slander. He says these things becasue the Progressive Caucus has put out a budget that is wildly popular in a lot of its provisions (one has 81% support for in recent polls). Of course this budget will never see the light of day with the republicain house. If he thinks those proposals are communist (I've read them, they are not) then damn it I'm a comrade to.

    April 12, 2012 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
  4. J Roby

    Oh please Mr Romney, this is your vice president. He's rested and ready. Make Congressman West your running mate tomorrow, for the good o the country.

    April 12, 2012 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
  5. MJMullinII

    The only people afraid of Communists are Fascists.

    April 12, 2012 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
  6. sadlyperturbed

    This type of politician is not needed in any branch of government for either side of the aisle. The country is already divided enough without his rhetoric added to the mix.

    April 12, 2012 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  7. keithb

    What an embarrassment for the republicans! He is even worse then Joe Walsh (Ill.-R) another tea party nut-job!

    April 12, 2012 12:33 am at 12:33 am |
  8. gate

    You would think a guy from the state nearest Cuba would know what a Communist is. This level of ignorance does nothing to solve our nations problems.

    April 12, 2012 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
  9. Vibrato Yodeler

    West is a loser,.. slightly deranged, and totally unhinged. He's the Black version of Joe Walsh.

    April 12, 2012 12:42 am at 12:42 am |
  10. Indy

    "(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.

    And now would be a great time to for West to step up to the plate and resign, and that would serve the country much better than anything he can do by staying and making a fool of himself. If he did this working for any corporation he would be fired on the spot.

    April 12, 2012 12:42 am at 12:42 am |
  11. Jeff in San Diego

    First the Republicans want to roll back pretty much all the women's rights (and now that they are about to loose the White House because they lost the support of women I bet they want to repeal their right to vote) and now they want to accuse everyone of being a Communist. When do they think they are? McCarthyist 1950?

    April 12, 2012 12:43 am at 12:43 am |
  12. Scary

    Hey look, another person to NOT re-elect.

    April 12, 2012 12:44 am at 12:44 am |
  13. Robert A. Looey

    How about the Communists in the Executive Branch???????

    April 12, 2012 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  14. Peter

    Of course, as we all know, there is a galactic culture from where Mr. West originates. Due to a complex history, that culture retains a sadistic ritual in which the most dim-witted of its members are taken advantage of on "reality tv" shows just for "fun." West is an unwitting participant in one of these reality shows. He has been sent to an alien planet to make a complete fool of himself and so far has risen to the charts in those parts of the galaxy. If it weren't so tragic, this story might actually be funny.

    April 12, 2012 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  15. yahmez

    First of all, the GOP panders much farther to the right than the Democrats do the left. The Democratic party is the centrist, moderate party in America today. Those left of Democrat vote Socialist Workers' Party, or American Communist Party, neither of which garners many votes. Neither party is doing very good about breaking congressional deadlocks, but the Democrats have shown much more willingness to compromise than the Republicans.

    April 12, 2012 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
  16. enuff

    Some people are just thought to be stupid.. other's open their mouths and prove they are.

    April 12, 2012 12:49 am at 12:49 am |
  17. Truth

    Republican is another work for Crazy!

    April 12, 2012 12:52 am at 12:52 am |
  18. Jason

    There is a difference between socialism and Communism. Perhaps this Rep should stop the ridiculous McCarthy era name calling and educate himself. Besides, he's nothing but a Corporatocracist.

    April 12, 2012 12:53 am at 12:53 am |
  19. slimjim66

    Spoken in truth from a Republican , as a American Citizen this new Militarized police , Drones overhead , Anti protest attacks by the Police seem like the slow march towards enslavement .......

    April 12, 2012 12:54 am at 12:54 am |
  20. paul.cos

    They should be looking for the fascists over at fox news and the nazis in the tea party first and foremost.

    April 12, 2012 12:57 am at 12:57 am |
  21. Brainy Smurf

    Wait a second, Democratic Senators call members of the Tea Party "Nazis", yet it never even made the ticker. Way to be balanced CNN...

    April 12, 2012 12:58 am at 12:58 am |
  22. ct

    Not surprising. And this is the chump that wants to be vp....GET REAL...

    April 12, 2012 01:01 am at 1:01 am |
  23. Steve

    Just more evidence that the right truly never left the 50's...

    Ahhh, the 50's; when women were barefoot and pregnant, minorities knew their place in the world and gays just didnt exist. Those were the days...

    April 12, 2012 01:07 am at 1:07 am |
  24. Robby

    Where in the US Constitution does it mention free enterprise or capitalism? Hate on communism as much as you want, but we need to educate people that the level of regulation in the economy is up to the same democratic process as every other decision in this country. There is nothing un-american about being communist. NOTHING.

    April 12, 2012 01:10 am at 1:10 am |
  25. Peter E

    "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. "
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but the economical collapse started in the US first, triggered by the mortgage crisis and banking system, and thus brought the rest of the world down...

    April 12, 2012 01:13 am at 1:13 am |
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