Huffpost Politics

Allen West: Debbie Wasserman Schultz Apology 'Not Happening' (VIDEO)

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During an appearance on Fox Business Network on Thursday, Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) signaled he has no intention of apologizing to Rep. Debbie Wasserman Shultz (D-Fla.), who chairs the Democratic National Committee, for using strong language to criticize her in an email.

"That is not happening," said West on whether he plans to issue an apology to the Democratic congresswoman. "This is a pattern I referred to in that email that goes back to 2010. Finally I think I have the right to stand up and defend my honor and make sure that this type of activity does cease. I sent her a private email, she decided to make it public by releasing it to the news media."

On Wednesday, however, West suggested to HuffPost's Jen Bendery that he had said he was sorry to Wasserman Shultz for the message in question. (Click here to listen to audio of what the Republican lawmaker had to say.)

Shortly after, a spokesman for Wasserman Schultz indicated that the congresswoman never received an apology from West. A spokesman for the congressman clarified that it's "absolutely false" that West said he was sorry.

The AP relays background on the email West sent to numerous lawmakers as well as Wasserman Schultz herself:

A Republican congressman from Florida turned to email on Tuesday to call a Democratic colleague from the state "vile, despicable and cowardly" after she called into question his stance on Medicare during the debate over a spending cap and balanced budget bill before the House.

...

The subject line of the email: "Unprofessional and Inappropriate Sophomoric Behavior from Wasserman Schultz."

The e-mail said: "Look, Debbie, I understand that after I departed the House floor you directed your floor speech comments directly towards me. Let me make myself perfectly clear, you want a personal fight, I am happy to oblige. You are the most vile, unprofessional and despicable member of the US House of Representatives. If you have something to say to me, stop being a coward and say it to my face, otherwise, shut the heck up."
...
In his email, West said Wasserman Schultz has proven "that you are not a Lady" and "shall not be afforded due respect from me!" He said he was alerting House leaders to her "heinous characterless behavior."

Wasserman Schultz addressed the message sent by West during an appearance on MSNBC on Wednesday.

"I have to tell you I was unfazed by his email," she said. "It's not surprising that given the pressure that the Republicans are facing, they're defending ending Medicare as we know it. Congressman West represents thousands of senior citizens which is what I was pointing out and they would face significant increased costs due to the Medicare plan. And, it's not surprising he would crack under the pressure of having to defend that."

Asked if he regrets his choice of words on Thursday morning, West indicated that if he could go back he would not change the language he used.

"There are certain ways we speak in the military and I guess I have not learned the D.C. insider talk that these people are used to," he said. "Don’t poke me in the chest. That’s the bottom line to that exchange.”

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, as well as West himself, have sought to capitalize on the controversy with fundraising calls highlighting the congressman's criticism.

Below, video of what Wasserman Shultz had to say on MSNBC on Wednesday.

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