“You are the most vile, unprofessional, and despicable member of the U.S. House of Representatives.”
So Republican Congressman and Tea Partier Allen West said of his colleague Debbie Wasserman Schultz, representative of Florida’s 20th District and chairwoman of the DNC, in a widely circulated email that has raised eyebrows on Capitol Hill.
It all started when Schultz delivered seemingly benign remarks regarding West’s support for the GOP’s “Cut, Cap and Balance” plan. “The gentleman from Florida, who represents thousands of Medicare beneficiaries, as do I, is supportive of this plan that would increase costs for Medicare beneficiaries — unbelievable from a member from South Florida,” she said during remarks on the House Floor. The plan, which makes raising the debt ceiling contingent upon massive cuts in spending and a balanced-budget amendment for the federal government, has virtually no chance of becoming law.
In response to her criticism, West wrote, “You have proven repeatedly that you are not a Lady, therefore, shall not be afforded due respect from me!”
Several Democratic congresswomen, including Carolyn Maloney of New York City, have written in outrage to the House leadership, demanding an apology from West, citing his “clearly sexist tone” and asking others to “disavow” his remarks “in the strongest of terms.”
So far, West has refused to apologize. On the contrary, he has attempted to utilize the growing outrage in order to raise money for his next election campaign, citing a “vast left wing conspiracy” against him in a fundraising email to constituents. In comments to Fox News, West insisted that he, not the Congresswoman, is the victim. “I’m not going to allow anyone take advantage of me and the niceness that I exhibit.”
Jury’s out on when we’ll get a chance to see more niceness from West.