Allen West, a Republican congressman from Florida and a champion of Tea Party groups, said he was mulling quitting the Congressional Black Caucus after Rep. Andre Carson (D-Ind), the CBC whip, accused tea party groups of being racist.
Carson told people attending a town hall meeting in Miami as part of the CBC's Job Tour that some members of Congress "would love to see us as second-class citizens," he said. "Some of them in Congress right now of this Tea Party movement would love to see you and me ... hanging on a tree."
West shot back at Carson's comments during an appearance on Fox & Friends this morning. "When you start using words such as lynching… that’s a reprehensible word and I think we should move away from that language," West said. "One of the things I'm starting to think about is reconsidering my membership in the Congressional Black Caucus, because I don't think they're moving in the right manner toward solving the problems in not just the black community, but all of America."
In a letter to Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO), the CBC chair, West went further. "Congressman Carson's desire to generally criticize a large grassroots group as racist is baseless and desperate," he wrote. "When individuals believe they are defeated in a political disagreement, they normally resort to race-baiting, which in my opinion is in itself racist."
West is the CBC's lone Republican member, and the first member of the caucus from the G.O.P. since J.C. Watts joined in the 1990s.
Carson isn't the only CBC member to take aim at the Tea Party in recent weeks. Maxine Waters, the longtime representative from California, said that the libertarian-leaning group could "go to hell."