Former Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) reacted to President Barack Obama's Trayvon Martin comments on Monday, criticizing the commander in chief for making the case a "personal experience."
In an interview with Newsmax's Steve Malzberg, West appeared to place blame on Obama and Martin's actions.
"I believe it comes back to being a respectful young man and maybe that's something that was missing out of President Obama and Trayvon Martin's life," West said. "But to try to play this and try to make it a personal experience, this was just absolutely horrific."
In his Friday statement, Obama stressed that Martin could have been him 35 years ago. He added that it was important to realize that African Americans viewed the shooting "through a set of experiences and a history that doesn't go away."
There are very few African American men in this country who haven't had the experience of being followed when they were shopping in a department store. That includes me. There are very few African American men who haven't had the experience of walking across the street and hearing the locks click on the doors of cars. That happens to me -- at least before I was a senator. There are very few African Americans who haven't had the experience of getting on an elevator and a woman clutching her purse nervously and holding her breath until she had a chance to get off. That happens often.
West saw otherwise in the Newsmax interview, claiming that he never experienced those types of hardships.
"I don’t recall being followed in malls or shopping centers," West said. "I don’t recall car doors clicking locked when I walked across the street, And I definitely have not had women clutching their handbags and purses when I got on the elevator."
Back in March, West railed against the Sanford, Fla. Police Department's handling of the Martin case, calling it an "outrage." He also added that race should not be brought into the matter.
From my reading, it seems this young man was pursued and there was no probable cause to engage him, certainly not pursue and shoot him….against the direction of the 911 responder. Let’s all be appalled at this instance not because of race, but because a young American man has lost his life, seemingly, for no reason.