Updated 9:19 p.m.
Freshman Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) is coming under fire after reportedly sending a scathing personal e-mail to Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz in which he contends that the Florida Democrat is “vile,” “despicable,” “not a Lady” and should “shut the heck up.”
West reportedly sent the e-mail Tuesday afternoon after Wasserman Schultz, who also serves as chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, criticized West’s support for the “Cut, Cap and Balance Act,” which would allow the debt ceiling to be raised in exchange for significant spending cuts and congressional passage of a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution.
Wasserman Schultz had said on the House floor that “the gentleman from Florida, who represents thousands of Medicare beneficiaries, as do I, is supportive of this plan that would increase costs for Medicare beneficiaries – unbelievable for a member from South Florida.”
In an e-mail to Wasserman Schultz and copied to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and West’s chief of staff, Jonathan Blyth, West accused the Florida Democrat of “unprofessional and inappropriate sophomoric behavior.”
“Look, Debbie, I understand that after I departed the House floor you directed your floor speech comments directly towards me,” West wrote in the e-mail, which was first reported by Politico’s Ben Smith. “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. Focus on your own congressional district!”
“You have proven repeatedly that you are not a Lady, therefore, shall not be afforded due respect from me!” he added.
“I don’t think that Congressman West is upset at the Congresswoman, but rather with the fact that she highlighted that he and other Republicans are once again trying to balance the budget on the backs of seniors, children and the middle class,” said Wasserman Schultz spokesman Jonathan Beeton.
“As someone who lives in Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz’s Congressional district, Congressman West knows that we have hundreds of thousands of seniors in South Florida who have paid into Medicare throughout their lives and now rely on this program to keep them healthy and active,” Beeton added. “The truth hurts.”
A West spokeswoman defended the congressman’s comments.
“Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz today took another cowardly cheap shot at Congressman West conveniently after he had just left the House floor speaking on the Cut, Cap and Balance bill,” West spokeswoman Angela Sachitano said Tuesday evening. “Congressman West contacted Congresswoman Wasserman-Schultz directly, as well as bipartisan House leadership to express his concern with her comments and the low level she has chosen to stoop to attack Congressman West. The Congresswoman’s actions were unprofessional and cowardly.”
“The constituents in Florida see Congressman West as a true leader and a man of principle while Congresswoman Wasserman-Schultz is once again viewed as politics as usual, and her true character sadly shown today,” Sachtiano added.