Rep. West Defends Outburst: "Don't Poke Me In The Chest"

July 21, 2011 10:40 am ET — Alan Pyke

In an interview this morning on Fox Business, Rep. Allen West (R-FL) denied having apologized to Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schulz (D-FL) for calling her "vile," "despicable," and "not a Lady" in an email after she accurately described the effects Republican policy would have on Medicare patients in West's district. Yesterday, West claimed to a Huffington Post reporter that he had apologized, but on cable news this morning he was at once defiant and dismissive.

West first cited his "right to stand up and defend my honor," despite the fact that he has not engaged the substance of Wasserman Schulz's statement — that Medicare beneficiaries will see their costs rise as a result of GOP policies — and then suggested that anyone bothered by his thin-skinned outburst is just too sensitive. "There's certain ways that we speak in the military," West said, "and I guess I have not learned the DC insider talk that maybe some of these people are used to."

WEST: Finally, I think that I do have the right to stand up and defend my honor and make sure that this type of activity does cease. So I sent her a private email, she decided to make it public by releasing it to the news media. [...]

Interestingly enough when you first interviewed me back when I was a candidate, you referred to me as a military man. There're certain ways that we speak in the military, and I guess I have not learned the DC insider talk that maybe some of these people are used to. Don't poke me in the chest, that's the bottom line to that exchange.


It's hilarious for Allen West of all people to demand that Democrats "don't poke me in the chest" with public statements. West's celebrity in right-wing circles is built upon his fiery tongue, and he's plenty eager to poke other people. West likens Islam to Nazism, thinks Planned Parenthood is "neutering American men," called the president a Marxist demagogue on TV, and responded to the news that he violated federal laws about treatment of the U.S. flag by taking one with him on a scuba dive by lashing out at "idiot liberals."

West's vitriol is not reserved for colleagues or liberal organizations, either. His latest post at Red State is titled "At this Point, Anyone with an Obama 2012 Bumper Sticker is a Threat to the Gene Pool." For a politician who constantly touts his military record, West doesn't seem to be that tough.