In four short years in the U.S. House of Representatives, congressman Allen West has earned a reputation for making the most irresponsible statements which are clearly intended to attract media attention, spark debate, and fire up his most fervent right-wing supporters. West may be running in a new (more conservative) district this fall, but he’ll still be running on his old record of divisiveness and discord. To refresh everyone’s collective memory about who Allen West is, ThinkProgress has compiled a list of his most outrageous quotes (and it’s anything but pretty):
(1) “YOU ARE NOT A LADY”: In July 2011, West responded to a perceived slight from Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (R-FL) with a fiery letter in which he threatened her and scolded, “You have proven repeatedly that you are not a Lady, therefore, shall not be afforded due respect from me!” West later said he had apologized, but Wasserman-Schultz said she had not received one.
(2) JOSEPH GOEBBELS WOULD “BE VERY PROUD” OF DEMOCRATS: In December, West told reporters, “If Joseph Goebbels was around, he’d be very proud of the Democrat party, because they have an incredible propaganda machine.” The link to Goebbels, Adolf Hitler’s Minister of Propaganda from 1933 to 1945, drew criticism from several members of Congress, the Anti-Defamation League, and others.
(3) LIBERALS “GET THE HELL OUT”: Speaking at the Palm Beach County GOP’s Lincoln Day Dinner in last month, West said of liberals, “Take your message of equality of achievement. … You can take it to Europe, you can take it to the bottom of the sea, you can take it to the North Pole, but get the hell out of the United States of America.” West later tried to walk back the statement, claiming he was only referring to “the message” and not liberals themselves.
(4) “A THREAT TO THE GENE POOL”: In a July 2011 post on the website Red Country, West wrote, “I must confess, when I see anyone with an Obama 2012 bumper sticker, I recognize them as a threat to the gene pool.”
(5) “I’M GOING TO KILL YOU”: Before running for Congress, West had a 22-year career in the military, but left after he abused an Iraqi detainee: “This is it. I’m going to count to five again, and if you don’t give me what I want, I’m going to kill you.” He then fired a shot “a foot” over the detainee’s head.
(6) “NUTS!”: West has often clashed with opponents over the issue of Islam. In August 2011, a chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations asked West to sever ties with anti-Muslim activists. In response, West sent a letter which read only, “I am writing to you with regard [sic] your recent letter: NUTS!” Why West chose this response is a mystery, although he might have been quoting a World War II general who responded that way when the Nazis told him to surrender.
(7) “WE ARE NOT GOING TO HAVE OUR MEN BECOME SUBSERVIENT”: In April 2011, West told a conservative women’s conference that liberal women “have been neutering American men and bringing us to the point of this incredible weakness — to let them know that we are not going to have our men become subservient. That’s what we need you to do. Because if you don’t, then the debt will continue to grow…deficits will continue to grow.”
(8) “BLINDLY FOLLOWING A COMMANDER IN CHIEF”: Talking with radio host Mark Levin last month, West said Generals “have to be very careful about blindly following a commander in chief that really does not have the best intent for our military.” What West did not mention was that officers are constitutionally bound to follow the President’s orders unless they are illegal.
(9) I AM “THE MODERN-DAY HARRIET TUBMAN”: Speaking with O’Reilly Factor guest host Laura Ingraham in August 2011, West said the Democratic party is a “21st-century plantation.” He added, “So I’m here as the modern-day Harriet Tubman, to kind of lead people on the Underground Railroad, away from that plantation into a sense of sensibility.”
(10) “LET THEM GET SHOT AT”: In May 2011, the House narrowly defeated a proposal which would have required President Obama to submit a timetable for withdrawal from Afghanistan. Of those who voted for the bill, West said, “I would take these gentlemen over and let them get shot at a few times and maybe they’d have a different opinion.” This was just months after the shooting of former Rep. Gabby Giffords.
(11) “WE ALSO SHOULD BE CENSORING THE AMERICAN NEWS AGENCIES”: In response to the whistleblower website Wikileaks releasing thousands of pages of diplomatic cables, West declared: “And I think that we also should be censoring the American news agencies which enabled [Julian Assange] to do this and also supported him and applauding him for the efforts.” West later claimed he only called for “censuring” the media. Either way, it would be a First Amendment violation.
(12) “I DON’T KNOW IF IT WAS A KIDNAPPING ATTEMPT”: When West first ran for Congress in 2008, the Arab news network Al Jazeera asked for an interview. West recalled, “But my b.s. flag really went up when [Al Jazeera] said they wanted my address, to pick me up at night. They said they would send a car but wouldn’t tell me where it was going. I don’t know if it was a kidnapping attempt. But I am not going to entrust Al Jazeera with my life. I said, ‘Cancel the interview!’”
(13) RELIGIOUS COEXISTENCE “WOULD GIVE AWAY OUR COUNTRY”: During a March 2011 town hall, West talked about the “Coexist” movement, saying of their bumper stickers: “Every time I see one of those bumper stickers, I look at the person inside that is driving. Because that person represents something that would give away our country. Would give away who we are, our rights and freedoms and liberties because they are afraid to stand up and confront that which is the antithesis, anathema of who we are.”
(14) “GEORGE BUSH GOT SNOOKERED”: During the same town hall, West claimed: “George Bush got snookered into going into some mosque, taking his shoes off, and then saying that Islam was a religion of peace.”
(15) DEMOCRATS SUPPORT “MOST INSIDIOUS FORM OF SLAVERY”: Just yesterday, West accused Democrats of supporting the worst form of slavery known today. “The Democratic appetite for ever-increasing redistributionary handouts is in fact the most insidious form of slavery remaining in the world today,” West said.
“I’m very concerned about this very divisive rhetoric,” West said of President Obama in December, apparently unaware of the glaring irony.