WASHINGTON - Black Florida Rep. Allen West, the only Republican member of the Congressional Black Caucus, is threatening to quit the CBC over what he calls “racially motivated rhetoric” by fellow caucus members aimed at the tea party.
While speaking at a Black Caucus-sponsored event in Miami, fellow CBC member Congressman Andre Carson of Indiana made the assertion that some tea politicians are trying to block the economic advancement of blacks and other minorities.
Carson alleged, "Some of them in Congress right now with this tea party movement would love to see you and me - hanging on a tree."
The use of the lynching metaphor prompted a scathing response from West who threatened to quit the CBC in protest.
West fired off a letter to CBC Chairman Emanuel Cleaver saying, "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, "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."
"Congressman Carson's desire to generally criticize a large grassroots group as racist is baseless and desperate. When individuals believe they are defeated in a political disagreement, they normally resort to race-baiting, which in my opinion is in itself racist," added West
West concluded the letter by saying, "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."
For his part, Carson stood by his remarks saying, “Well, I wasn't talking about the entire tea party. I think the tea party is absolutely right when they call for increased transparency in government, when they call for a cutback on excessive government spending. I am deeply concerned about some elements of the tea party who are extremist and who have reflected a mentality going back to the John Birch society, going back to George Wallace's Dixiecrats.”