GOP Rep. Allen West Sparks Communist Controversy
Black conservative says members of Congressional Progressive Caucus are communists.
The McCarthy era in politics may be long gone, but that didn’t stop Florida Congressman Allen West from recently accusing liberal Democrats of being communists.
During a town hall meeting on Tuesday, the black conservative quipped, “I believe there are about 78 or 81 members of the Democrat Party that are members of the Communist Party. It’s called the Congressional Progressive Caucus.”
This provocative remark made headlines at media outlets throughout the nation, but a spokesman for West tried to downplay the controversy by clarifying West’s statements. West’s campaign manager Tim Edson said that the congressman’s detractors are quibbling over semantics.
“The real point is these people speak for themselves and if you listen to the words of the progressive caucus it’s clear that these people are opponents of capitalism — they oppose free markets, they oppose individual economic freedom — so you can call them whatever you want — whether they’re socialists or Marxists or communists.”
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The Congressional Progressive Caucus includes many prominent lawmakers of color such as California Rep. Maxine Waters, District of Columbia Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, Illinois Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. and Georgia Rep. John Lewis, to name a few. On Wednesday, the group’s co-chairs, Arizona Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva and Minn. Rep. Keith Ellison, issued a statement to counter Rep. West’s claims.
“Allen West is denigrating the millions of Americans who voted to elect Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) members, and he is ignoring the oath they took to protect and defend the U.S. Constitution—just like he did. 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 CPC is proud to stand up for economic equality and civil and human rights for all Americans.”
West hasn’t just made headlines recently due to his controversial remarks but also because former Alaska governor and vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin recommended him in March to the Republican contenders for president as a running mate. She said during a Fox News interview, “If I were in a GOP presidential candidates’ shoes, I would first look to Col. Allen West.”