Bye-bye Allen West: Remembering his 10 most impressive moments

Updated
By msnbc staff
U.S. Rep. Allen West, R-Fla. waves before introducing Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and his wife Ann Oct. 7 in...
U.S. Rep. Allen West, R-Fla. waves before introducing Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and his wife Ann Oct. 7 in...
Lynne Sladky/AP

Republican Rep. Allen West has conceded that after two years in office he has lost re-election to newcomer Democrat Patrick Murphy in Florida.

The outspoken Tea Party idol, who once called President Obama a socialist agitator, had initially refused to step aside following a close race. Despite initial returns showing Murphy ahead, West pointed to “discrepancies” at Florida’s polls and demanded a recount.

“While many questions remain unanswered, today I am announcing that I will take no further action to contest the outcome of this election,” West said in a statement two weeks following Election Day.

Even as West said he wanted to “congratulate my opponent,” he maintained that there are “still inaccuracies in the results.”

Nevertheless, the defeated congressman admitted that “our legal team does not believe there are enough over-counted, undercounted or fraudulent votes to change the outcome of the election.”

A Facebook post containing West’s concession statement was entitled, “I will take no further action to contest this election.”

Here now, in no particular order, West’s top 10 most inflammatory moments:

•Throughout his brief congressional career, West argued that the nation changed for the worst after Barack Obama was sworn in as president in 2009.  In an interview with Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren, West doubled down on his claims that the president was taking the country down the wrong path by calling him a  ”low-level socialist agitator,” for his work as a community organizer. West went on to say that Obama displayed a “third world dictator-like arrogance” in his budget speech to Congress.

•Not content to just insult Obama, West also criticized the president’s supporters. “I must confess, when I see anyone with an Obama 2012 bumper sticker, I recognize them as a threat to the gene pool,” he wrote in a piece for the conservative website, Red Country.

•A private email sent to Democratic National Committee Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) revealed how thin-skinned West could be about criticism over his policies. After Wasserman Schultz criticized his support for the “Cut, Cap, and Balance Act”, West fired off an angry email saying:

“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! You have proven repeatedly that you are not a Lady, therefore, shall not be afforded due respect from me!”


•West also had choice words for his colleague in the House, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Mich), who is a Muslim and was sworn into office with Thomas Jefferson’s Koran. Addressing Ellison’s faith in an interview for The Shalom Show, West argued that the Democrat represented the “antithesis” for what the U.S. stands.

“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…”


• In fact, West’s time in the House was marked by blatant Islamophobia. Speaking with Tea Party supporters, West defined followers of Islam as a “very vile and very vicious enemy.”

“Islam is a totalitarian theocratic political ideology, it is not a religion. It has not been a religion since 622 AD, and we need to have individuals stand up and say that.”


• West frequently referred to his decades as an Army officer during his critiques of the Obama administration’s foreign policies, skipping over the part where he retired after being charged with violating the Uniform Code of Conduct for firing his pistol near the head of an Iraqi policeman he was interrogating while on duty in 2003. His own foreign policy notwithstanding, West criticized President Obama’s speech to the UN following the incident in Benghazi and offered his own statement:

“The future does not belong to those who attack our Embassies and Consulates and kill our Ambassadors. The Angel of Death in the form on an American Bald Eagle will visit you and wreak havoc and destruction upon your existence.”


• As the lone Republican member of the Congressional Black Caucus, West had ambivalent feelings about the group and threatened to leave. Given his relationship with the caucus members, perhaps his presence would not be missed. West alienated colleagues in the caucus after catering a lunch via Chick-fil-A  and then walking out of the meal. Members were reportedly livid with West and saw the delivery of Chick-fil-A, a chain which lobbied against marriage equality and supports conservative legislators, as a statement in support of those views.

“He did it deliberately,” Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.) told the Huffington Post. “You know, ‘That’s what I think of you all’.”

• West also made enemies in the Congressional Progressive Caucus after he accused its members of belonging to the Communist Party. At a town hall meeting in Florida, West joked that he knew of at least 80 Democrats who were members of the Communist Party or, as the they were commonly called on The Hill, the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

• To West, progressive members of Congress and Obama’s economic policies were nothing compared to liberal women in the United States, who have been “neutering” American men for decades. In an address to conservative women, West referred to the film 300 and urged mothers to raise Spartan warriors.

“To let these women know on the other side—these Planned Parenthood women, the Code Pink women, and all of  these women that 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.”

Bye-bye Allen West: Remembering his 10 most impressive moments

Updated