In response to recent comments made by Indiana Democratic Rep. Andre Carson and California Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters that denigrate the tea party movement, Florida Republican Rep. Allen West — a member of both the Congressional Black Caucus and the Tea Party Caucus — sent a letter to CBC Chairman Emanuel Cleaver Wednesday requesting that the body condemn such remarks.
"As Chairman of the CBC, I believe it is incumbent on you to both condemn these types of hate-filled comments, and to disassociate the Congressional Black Caucus from these types of remarks. Otherwise, I will have to seriously reconsider my membership within the organization," West wrote.
The freshman congressman declared, "It is unconscionable when a fellow CBC Member, Congressman Andre Carson, comes to South Florida and claims that some in the Tea Party would love to see black Americans 'hanging on a tree.' It is appalling to hear another CBC colleague, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, say 'The Tea Party can go straight to hell.'"
West added that Carson's comments, which caricature the tea party movement as a group of racists, are "baseless" and "desperate." West reiterated that the movement is focused on fiscal responsibility and American exceptionalism and wrote that the the CBC should be working to end the "balkanisation" of America.
"As a member of the CBC, I look forward to working with you to help end this practice. All of us, especially Congressman Carson, Congresswoman Waters and others who have engaged in racially-motivated rhetoric, should follow the example of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., not the example of Reverend Jeremiah Wright," West added, concluding that he hopes to work with the CBC to bridge divides.