Maybe it’s the stress of the debt ceiling debate or maybe it’s his well-documented short fuse, but Rep. Allen West (R-FL) appeared to cross any number of lines in an email sent to DNC chair and fellow Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz Tuesday.
The message, which was obtained by Politico’s Ben Smith and confirmed to TPM by a Wasserman Schultz aide, was sent to Wasserman Schultz, Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and West’s Chief of Staff.
West’s tirade against Wasserman Schultz came after she chastised him on the House floor for supporting the Cut, Cap and Balance debt ceiling deal favored by the House GOP. Wasserman Schultz called out West — not by name — for supporting a plan she said would “increase costs for Medicare beneficiaries,” which she said was “unbelievable from a Member from South Florida.”
Here’s video of Wasserman Schultz on the floor, posted by the DNC:
This triggered the following response from West:
Subject: Unprofessional and Inappropriate Sophomoric Behavior from Wasserman-Schultz
Look, Debbie, I understand that after I departed the House floor you directed your floor speech comments directly towards me. 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!
I am bringing your actions today to our Majority Leader and Majority Whip and from this time forward, understand that I shall defend myself forthright against your heinous characterless behavior……which dates back to the disgusting protest you ordered at my campaign hqs, October 2010 in Deerfield Beach.
You have proven repeatedly that you are not a Lady, therefore, shall not be afforded due respect from me!
Steadfast and Loyal
Congressman Allen B West (R-FL)
Needless to say, whatever their personal feelings may be, members of Congress generally keep it pretty polite when addressing each other in Congress. One can only wonder the response from conservatives like West had it been revealed that Wasserman Schultz said something similar about a Republican.
Update: Wasserman Schultz’ congressional spokesperson, Jonathan Beeton, sends over this response to West’s email:
“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. 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. The truth hurts.”