Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) responded to harsh criticism from Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) Tuesday, saying that his Tea Party-backed colleague's comments were unexpected, incorrect and counterproductive in terms of increasing civil discourse between politicians.
Ellison responded Tuesday in a statement to ThinkProgress:
I was surprised to hear of Congressman West's comments because he has never expressed these sentiments to me directly.
Contrary to the views expressed by Congressman West, I work to represent the highest ideals of our great nation - ideals like freedom of worship and respect for all faiths, equal protection under the law as well as a civil and open public discourse.
I call on Americans of all colors, cultures and faiths to turn to each other, not on each other, especially in the renewed spirit of finding a more respectful and productive public dialogue.
Americans across the country want their public servants to reject the toxic and corrosive chatter that yields more heat than light. I hope to have a productive and respectful dialogue with all of my colleagues, including Allen West.