Rep. Allen West (R-FL), the only Republican in the Congressional Black Caucus, is considering leaving the group over remarks made against the Tea Party.
“I think that we heard the president talk about some of this over-the-top rhetoric and we should move away from that,” West said Wednesday morning on “Fox & Friends.”
“When you start using words such as lynching, I was born and raised in Georgia and my folks were from southern Georgia, born in the ’20s and ’30s, that’s a very reprehensible word and we should move away from using that type of language,” he said.
“And I have to tell you, one of the things I’m starting to think about is reconsidering my membership in the Congressional Black Caucus because I don’t think that they’re moving towards the right manner in which we’re going to solve the problems not just in the black community but all across the United States of America,” West added.
Rep. Andre Carson, a Democrat from Indiana who serves as the CBC’s chief vote counter, said at a CBC event in Miami that some in Congress would “love to see us as second-class citizens” and “some of them in Congress right now of this tea party movement would love to see you and me … hanging on a tree.”
Carson also compared the Tea Party to “Jim Crow.”
Other members of the caucus have called for civil unrest, and Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) said earlier in August the Tea Party “can go straight to Hell.”
West expressed disappointment with the Caucus and wondered why “anyone would not want to agree” with the principles in the Constitution.
“To try to all of a sudden have a scapegoat called the tea party, which is what you saw after the S&P downgrade, that became the liberal media talking point, that’s just a distraction,” he said.
“The tea party really stands for some basic core constitutional principles and that means efficient constitutionally mandated government, fiscally responsible government, national security and our free market and free enterprise and I can’t see why anyone would not want to agree with that and align themselves with those principles.”
The Hill notes that West is the first Republican to join the caucus since Rep. Gary Franks of Connecticut left Congress in 1997.
According to The Hill, some in the Caucus did not want West to join because he is a Republican:
West’s membership in the CBC has been a point of some controversy. In October, the caucus’s chairwoman, Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), questioned whether West should be allowed to join the CBC.
“Our agenda is about lifting people out of poverty, providing middle-class tax cuts, supporting climate-change legislation,” she told The Economist. “Do [incoming black Republicans] embrace this agenda?”
Ultimately, it was decided that West would be allowed to join the CBC. Rep. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), the only other black Republican in Congress, declined to join the group.
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