The Congressional Progressive Caucus, which U.S. House Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota co-chairs, issued a statement blasting U.S. Rep. Allen West after the Florida Republican linked the group to the Communist Party.
“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 read in part.
The Palm Beach Post reported that West told the audience at a Tuesday town hall meeting that he’s heard that as many as 80 Democrats in the U.S. House are Communists.
West later clarified the statement, saying that he was referring to the 70-plus members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. Populated by the most liberal members of the U.S. House, the caucus is a frequent target for conservative lawmakers and activists.
An official with the Communist Party USA told Politico that no congressional lawmakers are party members.
Here’s the full statement from Ellison and co-chair Rep. Rail M. Grijalva, D-Ariz.:
“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.
“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. When people like Rep. West have no ideals or principles, they rely on personal attacks. The CPC is proud to stand up for economic prosperity and civil and human rights for all Americans. Congress is having, and will continue to have, an ongoing debate about job creation, home foreclosures and the issues that concern working families. But we will not engage in base and childish conversations that lower the high level of discourse Americans rightly expect from their representatives.”