Since taking office in January 2011, Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.), a Tea Party darling, has spurred controversy and made his way onto headlines for his often incendiary and irresponsible comments.

Jan. 22, 2011
When asked on “The Shalom Show,” featuring host Richard Peritz, how he was going to deal with members of Congress he disagreed with, especially Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), a practicing Muslim, West responded: “Well, I think it’s most important that I stand upon the principles people that elected me to go to Washington, D.C. and represent them on Capitol Hill. So that when you run into someone that is counter or someone that really does represent the antithesis of the principles upon which this country was established, you’ve got to be able to defeat them intellectually in debate and discourse, and you have to be able to challenge each and every one of their assertions very wisely and very forthright.”

Feb. 18, 2011
In his keynote speech at the 2011 Conservative Political Action Conference, West touched on topics such as health care reform, conservatism and the budget crisis, raising eyebrows when he said that while we should celebrate diversity, “We should never allow multiculturalism to grow on steroids and define itself as making American culture subservient because yes, there is a
definitive American culture.”

July 19, 2011
After Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) questioned West’s stance on a Republican bill to make steep cuts in Medicare, West responded with a scathing email. “Look Debbie, I understand that after I departed the House floor you directed your floor speech comments directly towards me,” he wrote. “Let me make myself perfectly clear. You want a personal fight, I am happy to oblige. You are the most vile, unprofessional and despicable member of the U.S. House of Representatives. If you have something to say to me, stop being a coward and say it to my face. Otherwise shut the heck up.” West initially refused to apologize, but in an interview with the {Huffington Post}, he admitted to a reporter that he had apologized.

July 19, 2011
West slammed Obama supporters on a blog. “I must confess, when I see anyone with an Obama 2012 bumper sticker, I recognize them as a threat to the gene pool.”

August 17, 2011
“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,” West said on “Fox News.” He called the Democratic Party the “21st century plantation.”

April 11, 2012
“I believe there’s about 78 to 81 members of the Democratic Party that are members of the Communist Party,” he said in answer to a question about the Marxist influence in Washington, D.C.

July 8, 2012
During an appearance on the “Fox and Friends” television show, West criticized President Obama’s policies that assist unemployed citizens. “Once again we are creating the sense of economic dependence which, to me, is a form of modern 21st-century slavery.” In the face of media criticism about his use of the word slavery, he defended his remarks in a Facebook posting. “What the liberal media machine wants to hide from you, and distort with my comments, is that the policies of President Obama are making our nation a nation based on economic dependency and I call this a form of modern 21st century slavery,” West wrote. “Let’s get the facts straight.”

Aug. 7, 2012
West stood by the president of fast food chain Chick-fil-A after the businessman drew fire for voicing his disapproval of same-sex marriage. After West voiced his support of the restaurant, Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.) told the {Huffington Post} that the Republican congressman had ordered Chick-fil-A chicken and biscuits for Congressional Black Caucus members during a meeting a few months earlier to insult them. “We have a rotation in the CBC where every member provides the lunch one of the weeks when we meet,” Hastings said. “But West sent Chick-fil-A with biscuits. Ok? That was an ‘In your face.’ Every member of the CBC that was there was offended. He did it deliberately… ‘You know, that’s what I think of you all.’”

Nov. 10, 2012
Although election officials declared that Democratic challenger Patrick Murphy had unseated West by 2,456 votes in the race for Florida’s 18th District congressional seat, West refused to concede. The campaign has asked to review sign-in books from the polls to ensure the number of voters matches the ballot count.

Nov. 13, 2012
West still refused to concede, even as his Murphy arrived for orientation. “West for Congress will pursue every legal means necessary to ensure a fair election,” his campaign said in a statement.

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Gregory Dale

AFRO News Editor