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."

- Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

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. Mom to 3

    Just when you think the Tea Party and its crazy representatives couldn't get any stupider ........

    April 12, 2012 07:34 am at 7:34 am |
  2. boehnersux

    Allen West doesn't know what "a communist" is really. However, he seems to fit very nicely into the definition of a fascist.

    April 12, 2012 07:38 am at 7:38 am |
  3. sick of republican phonies

    I guess he was worried that the phony republican ploy of labeling everything they don't like as "socialism" isn't working that well, and this mentally incapacitated wacko feels it's time to up the ante.

    April 12, 2012 07:42 am at 7:42 am |
  4. Angus

    He's so right. (no pun intended)

    April 12, 2012 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
  5. AmericanSam

    There are varying degrees that the government can be involved in people's lives. Just because Democrats believe that should be more than Republicans doesn't mean that the Democrats are Communists (which is a misinterpretation of Communism anyway; Communism is the belief that the people, not the government, should own the means of production). If we are going to conclude that everyone is suddenly the extreme end to whatever end they are closest to, one could say that Republicans are Anarchists, Fascists, or Corporatists.

    April 12, 2012 07:46 am at 7:46 am |
  6. Scott S.

    Yeah, something tells me we should cease giving this man the time of day.

    April 12, 2012 07:47 am at 7:47 am |
  7. sonnie3

    If the shoe fits, then when you leave tracks, your responsible for where you are and where you are headed.
    The democrats sure are for Big Goverment Take over of All that they can. And this is Communistic action going forward as their calling card.

    April 12, 2012 07:48 am at 7:48 am |
  8. msmindylee

    Marxism offers much insight into many of the inequalities that exist in this country. Every time I hear that word used as a slander, I am always a little surprised, wanting to ask "why is that so bad, anyway?" Hold-over ideology from many decades ago, and it's tired, trite and unimpressive to use it as a slander.

    April 12, 2012 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
  9. Fair is Fair

    "This group advocates for state control over industries, redistribution of wealth, reduced individual economic freedom and the destruction of free markets"
    Sounds like West nailed it.

    April 12, 2012 07:52 am at 7:52 am |
  10. leo maniace

    Its too late already, the communists in office have already destroyed the country. For decades communists have pushed for less personal responsibility, more reliance on the government and redistributuion of wealth as a means to get people to cede control of their lives. Dependency is the most vile form of slavery, where people willingly give up their freedom for a meager hand out at some one else's expense. Poverty in the US now is the result of successful people and all we need to do is take money from successful people and give to to some one else, even the undeserving.

    April 12, 2012 07:52 am at 7:52 am |
  11. wlpowell

    Typical: Nothing to offer towards fixing the economy, no jobs plan, just "us vs. them" soundbites. So what if they are communists, we would need them to balance out the fascists and oligarchs in office that aren't helping the american people.

    April 12, 2012 07:55 am at 7:55 am |
  12. cecilia

    at some point I hope it may be possible for an intelligent, reasonable, ethical Republican to take issue with the tea party and other off the wall Republicans – this would be funny if it wasn't so constant and ridiculous. And it is getting very old – Republicans have thrown everything they can at this President and Liberals – and we wonder how we can stop bullies in schools –

    April 12, 2012 07:56 am at 7:56 am |
  13. kmp

    West needs to take a flying leap and just shut up. Better yet why doesn't one of those members of congress especially Ellison sue him for slander.

    April 12, 2012 07:56 am at 7:56 am |
  14. Michael

    How in the world when this guy speaks are people actually able to vote for such an idiotic, out-of-touch, non-inclusive, cut-off the nose in spite of the face, tea party conservative? And before any of you defend his statements, yes he can say what he wants (free speech) and I fought for that right for 20+ years. But this guy is supposed to be a U.S. Representative (representing who)? Poof, Be gone!!!

    April 12, 2012 07:58 am at 7:58 am |
  15. fsulevine

    Allen West is not only an embarrassment to every person that is a Floridian, like myself, but an embarrassment to every African-American in this country (I am not African-American).

    April 12, 2012 07:59 am at 7:59 am |
  16. T'sah From Virginia

    ►TRENDING: Florida Rep labels congressional Democrats as Communists◄
    And would you put it pass him when he’s riding on the broom with Palin the witch
    Who’s out there campaigning for ghost named Alan West
    Trying to fool folks into believing that as VP he would be the best
    Yep, once again, the Right is trying to prove their Blacks are better than the Democrat’s Blacks!!
    Too bad the Blacks on the right don’t get it – they’re being used for their outrageous attacks

    Obama 2012 – The Only Trusted Way Forward

    April 12, 2012 07:59 am at 7:59 am |
  17. BL

    Dear God, it is embarrassing to have to tell friends and associates you are from Florida when people like this "represent" you. America, I would never vote for such a hate mongering political hack as Allen West and I sincerely apologize for those who have.

    April 12, 2012 08:02 am at 8:02 am |
  18. Dave

    West is just a typical dumb Republican with a big mouth. Move on. Nothing to see here...

    April 12, 2012 08:02 am at 8:02 am |
  19. Guess What

    This man is a true American and is the better of the liberal non-christian facist obama

    April 12, 2012 08:03 am at 8:03 am |
  20. Rudy NYC

    West is mentally corrupt. Don't forget how is distinguished military career ended.

    April 12, 2012 08:05 am at 8:05 am |
  21. John


    Why don't you ask the Congressional Progressive Caucus what they believe?
    Case closed then.

    April 12, 2012 08:05 am at 8:05 am |
  22. jblah

    people should be asked to define what communism is when they make retarded comments like this. and they should also be asked to show what exactly someone is doing that makes them communist. no wonder we can't get anything done while the whole world catching up to us.

    April 12, 2012 08:07 am at 8:07 am |
  23. Marcia Greenwood, IN

    This man is a disgrace to his state and to the country-If the Republicans do not step up and call him out for this lunatic line then they are REALLY finished as a party-their retoric has been getting crazier and crazier the last 4 years but this is ridiculous-they are stuck in the 50's with their war on women's health and now calling the opposing party communists.-you are beyond!!!!!

    April 12, 2012 08:08 am at 8:08 am |
  24. joe dokes

    Most members of congress are rich through stocks, bonds, etc. Doesn't sound like communism to me. More stupid comments from the far right. It's comments like this that will turn the Republican Party into nothing more than a regional party. America is best served by having two parties that try to make America a better place. When one party turns the other party into the enemy rather than the opponent, we all lose. Probably good advice whether you're left or right.

    April 12, 2012 08:09 am at 8:09 am |
  25. Mark L.

    Communist Democrats, Fascist Republicans – All the "crap" that's going on in this country would make Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin roll over in their graves...!!!! Glad I am now registered as an Independent !!!! I have had absolutely ENOUGH of all the childish bickering that's going on back and forth in Congress, while we, the hard-working middle-class get nothing more than a kick in the butt with no merit increases, sky-rocketing & un-controllable healthcare costs, Wall St. greed affecting oil / gas prices, etc.

    April 12, 2012 08:09 am at 8:09 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37