The Democratic Party is full of communists, says U.S. Rep. Allen West of Florida, a Tea Party favorite and sole Republican member of the Congressional Black Caucus. Unless you talk to the American Communist Party itself.
At a Tuesday town hall meeting in Palm City, Fla., West said that he believes there are "about 78 to 81 members of the Democratic Party that are members of the Communist Party."
The comments came after a member of the audience asked him what percentage of the American legislature are "card-carrying Marxists." After a drawn-out pause, West clarified his claim, saying, "It's actually called the Congressional Progressive Caucus."
But Libero Della Piana, communications director at Communist Party USA, called West's comments a sad ploy. The Congressional Progressive Caucus does have around 80 members, but, according to Della Piana, none of them is an avowed communist. "It's just guilt by association taken to an extreme," he said.
This is not the first time West has made headlines for provocative remarks. In December, he said the Democratic Party's spin machine would have made Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels proud. At a dinner speech in January, West told a crowd that President Obama and other top Democratic leaders should take their campaign message and "get the hell out of the United States of America."
West is running for re-election in Florida's 18th District, though he currently represents the 22nd District. Redistricting in Florida made West's re-election efforts in the already competitive 22nd District even tougher, whereas the proposed 18th District looks to be more friendly to the Republican candidate.