National Democrats are seizing on Rep. Allen West’s (R-Fla.) e-mail tirade against Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Fla.) in an effort to raise money and mobilize their supporters.
Wednesday morning, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel (N.Y.) sent a message to supporters containing an excerpt from West’s Tuesday night e-mail, in which the Florida Republican wrote to Wasserman Schultz, “You are the most vile, unprofessional, and despicable member of the US House of Representatives. ... you are not a Lady.”
“I wish I could say I was surprised,” Israel wrote in the fundraising e-mail. “Unfortunately, this is exactly the sort of partisan tantrum we’re used to from House Republicans as they push our economy to the brink of disaster while pandering to their Tea Party base. We can’t let this shameful display go unanswered.”
Israel charged that West has often “riled up his extremist right-wing base by attacking progressive women for ‘neutering American men,’ calling supporters of President Obama, ‘a threat to the gene pool’ and writing for a misogynist magazine that denigrated women with words I’d be ashamed to even repeat.”
“And now that he’s in Congress, West thinks he can attack a respected legislator like Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz with this kind of hate-filled screed,” he added.
The political action committee EMILY’s List, which seeks to elect female Democratic candidates who support abortion rights, also sent out a message to supporters highlighting West’s remarks.
“Cong. Allen West’s angry, hostile tirade to DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz is truly despicable,” reads a message on the EMILY’s List Web site. “If you had any doubt about the Republican war on women, look no further than West’s email -- it’s threatening, sexist and demeaning. We can’t sit by and watch such an appalling action from one of our elected officials. Tell Allen West that you are standing with Debbie against this outrageous and despicable behavior.”
The group had already been targeting West for some his more controversial comments and has endorsed former West Palm Beach mayor Lois Frankel (D) in her bid to unseat the freshman Republican.
Wednesday morning, Rep. Donna Edwards (D-Md.) took to Twitter to defend Wasserman Schultz.
“@DWStweets - got your back. Truth’s like ice water. It was all just the facts,” Edwards tweeted.
A West spokeswoman on Tuesday stood by the congressman’s comments, saying in a statement that Wasserman Schultz’s “actions were unprofessional and cowardly.”