Rep. Allen West said in a town hall event in Florida that he’s “heard” that up to 80 House Democrats are Communist Party members, the Palm Beach Post reports.
The Florida Republican, and tea party favorite, made the comments while speaking in Jensen Beach, Fla. Tuesday evening.
In a video clip of the event posted Wednesday, West was responding a question from a constituent asking “What percentage of the American legislature do you think are card-carrying Marxists?”
“That’s a fair question. I believe there’s about 78 to 81 members of the Democratic Party that are members of the Communist Party,” West says in the video.
He went on to say, “It’s called the Congressional Progressive Caucus,” according to a spokesman, Tim Edson.
“He stands by his words,” Edson said in statement Wednesday afternoon. “But the words the media needs to pay attention to are the words of the members of the Progressive caucus. They speak for themselves. Call it what you may, but these House members are clearly not proponents of capitalism, free markets or individual economic freedom.”
West also criticized President Barack Obama, who spoke in Florida Tuesday about raising taxes for the wealthy, saying the president was “scared” to have a discussion on oil drilling and tax cuts, the Post reported.
“I really wish that, standing here before you, was Allen West and President Obama,” West said Tuesday, according to the Post. “We could have a simple discussion. But that ain’t ever gonna happen.”
“Why not?” an audience member asked.
“Because he was too scared!” West responded.
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