U.S. Congressman Allen West, a Republican from Florida, claimed that 80 of the 190 Democratic members of the House of Representatives are communists. West made the statement at one of two campaign rallies on Tuesday in which he also berated President Obama and said Obama was "scared" to debate him.
West wouldn't name any specific Democrats whom he believes are communists.
West was answering a question from the event's moderator, who asked how many members of Congress are Marxists or socialists.
He replied, "I believe there's about 78 to 81 members of the Democrat Party who are members of the Communist Party. It's called the Congressional Progressive Caucus."
Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chairman Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) and Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) called West's claims "outrageous" in comments to the Huffington Post.
"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," Grijalva and Ellison said in a statement. "We hope the people of Florida's 22nd Congressional District will note that he repeatedly polarizes the American people instead of focusing on their interests."
West is facing Martin County Sheriff Robert Crowder in a GOP primary, and Democrats Patrick Murphy, Jim Horn and Jerry Buechler.
Obama was speaking Tuesday in Boca Raton about tax rates for wealthy Americans while West was campaigning. West said the president was "too scared" to debate him on the issue.
Murphy, one of West's potential Democratic challengers, told the Palm Beach Post that the congressman was simply grandstanding.
"Allen West is trying to make it in the press with comments that don't even make sense," Murphy said. "He's trying to make headlines, get a rise out of people and not get anything done."
by RTT Staff Writer
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