Tea-party favorite Allen West called fellow Broward U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz “vile and despicable” in an email after she trashed a Republican budget-cutting plan Tuesday night on the House floor.
In his verbal explosion, the Plantation Republican suggested his beef with Wasserman Schultz began in October 2010 and “the disgusting protest you ordered at my campaign” headquarters in Deerfield Beach, West said in his email. But what finally set West off was the fact that Wasserman Schultz, the Democratic National Committee chair, said on the House floor that it was “unbelievable from a Member from South Florida" to support a plan that slashes Medicaid and Medicare “in favor of protecting tax breaks for Big Oil, millionaires, and companies who ship American jobs overseas." She never identified West by name.
West, who had left the House floor by that point, then dashed off his retort.
“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 US 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. Focus on your own congressional district!,” West wrote.
“Understand that I shall defend myself forthright against your heinous characterless behavior,” West continued. “You have proven repeatedly that you are not a Lady, therefore, shall not be afforded due respect from me!”
Florida Democratic Party Chairman Rod Smith today released the following statement demanding that Allen West apologize for his angry tirade and that Republican leaders condemn West's outrageous behavior:
"Last night, Congressman Allen West's angry tirade against Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz was completely unacceptable and unbecoming for a Member of Congress.
"While Allen West has a long history of violent rhetoric and inappropriate behavior, last night West hit a new low. West once again showed just how out of touch he is with the people the 22nd District, which he represents, and the people of Florida's 20th District, where he lives.
"Today, to show these type of angry outbursts and outrageous rants have no place in the United States Congress, not only does Allen West need to apologize to Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz but Republican leaders in Florida and Washington must condemn his actions."
The war of words underscores the tensions in Congress as members grapple with whether and how to raise the debt ceiling. Not only does the squabble pit one of the most liberal members of Congress against of its most conservative, it’s a sign of the polarizing politics in Broward County where their districts border each other.
The staffs of the members continued throwing barbs.
"I don’t think that Congressman West is upset at the Congresswoman, but rather with the fact that she highlighted that he and other Republicans are once again trying to balance the budget on the backs of seniors, children and the middle class," said Jonathan Beeton, Wasserman Schultz’s spokesman.
Angela Sachitano, West’s spokesman fired back: “The constituents in Florida see Congressman West as a true leader and a man of principle while Congresswoman Wasserman-Schultz is once again viewed as politics as usual, and her true character sadly shown today.”
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