Harking back to the red scare of the 1950s, a Republican congressman claims dozens of Democratic members of the House are really Communists in disguise.
The New York Daily News reports that Rep. Allen West was addressing a town hall meeting in his home state of Florida on Tuesday when he was asked if any House members were "card-carrying Marxists." He said, "There's about 78 to 81 members of the Democratic Party that are members of the Communist Party." He did not name names.
A day later his office explained that he was referring to the 76 members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
"The Communist Party has publicly referred to the Progressive Caucus as its allies," said West spokeswoman Angela Melvin. "The Progressive Caucus speaks for itself. These individuals certainly aren't proponents of free markets or individual economic freedom."
The co-chairs of the caucus, Reps. Raul Grijalva and Keith Ellison, issued a statement saying West has "no ideals or principles":
Allen West is denigrating the millions of Americans who voted to elect Congressional Progressive Caucus 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.
(West) 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.