A group of five House Democratic women on Wednesday called on Republican leaders to rebuke Rep. Allen West, one day after the Florida Republican attacked Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) in an e-mail.
He called the Democratic National Committee chairwoman “vile,” “despicable” and “not a Lady”.
At a Capitol news conference, Democratic Reps. Gwen Moore (Wis.), Lois Capps (Calif.), Jackie Speier (Calif.), Donna Edwards (Md.) and Carolyn Maloney (N.Y.) said that West should apologize for the e-mail and that House Republican leaders should publicly disavow West’s remarks.
“We see this as a historic and systemic way that women have been subjected to sexism particularly in this venue, in this political environment,” Moore said. ”Just once again, we have been told that in order to be a ‘lady,’ we need to just stay in our places.”
The women said that they have sent a letter to House GOP leaders asking them to rebuke West, a freshman from South Florida who has been one of the House’s more incendiary members since winning office in November.
“I certainly hope that Speaker Boehner disavows Mr. West’s comments,” Maloney said. “If he had given those comments on the floor of the House of Representatives, his words would have been taken down and stricken from the record because his words were nothing more than personal attacks, and the rules of this Congress do not permit personal attacks.”
In his e-mail to Wasserman Schultz, which he copied to House Republican and Democratic leaders, West charged that the congresswoman was “not a Lady” for criticizing his support for Republicans’ “Cut, Cap and Balance” plan on the floor of the House – a point on which the female Democratic House members seized at Wednesday’s news conference.
“I’ve got to tell you that standing up for what you believe in, speaking out on the floor of Congress, and getting elected to office is very ladylike, Mr. West,” Maloney said. “And I’d like to say that I believe it’s sad that Mr. West felt he had to resort to that kind of language, but they resort to that type of language because they cannot win on the merits.”
Meanwhile, both parties have been fundraising off the imbroglio. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and EMILY’s List excerpted West’s remarks in fundraising letters to supporters on Wednesday, while West’s campaign sent a fundraising missive highlighting the comments Wednesday afternoon.