Texas GOP picks notorious bigot who was forced out of the Army as its new leader

4301

Former Rep. Allen West is known for his virulently Islamophobic, racist, misogynistic, and anti-Semitic comments.

The Texas Republican Party on Monday selected a former Florida congressman with a history of racist and offensive comments as its new chair, the Texas Tribune reported.

Former Rep. Allen West defeated the state party's current chair, James Dickey, to lead the organization during a time when Democrats are seeing a resurgence in the traditionally Republican state, with voters in the suburbs of the state's largest cities turning away from Donald Trump and the GOP members who support him.

West has a history of inappropriate and discriminatory behavior, for which he became infamous during his brief one-term stint in Congress. During an interview in 2010, he claimed President George W. Bush had been tricked "into going into some mosque, taking his shoes off, and then saying that Islam was a religion of peace."

In 2011, he was criticized by religious leaders for his repeated anti-Muslim remarks, specifically his claim that "Islam is a totalitarian, theocratic political ideology; it is not a religion." West responded by suggesting he was referring to "the extremist, radical element that has hijacked Islam that presents a dangerous threat to both our country and our allies throughout the world."

West, a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel who was stripped of his command in 2003 after pleading guilty to assaulting an Iraqi detainee and threatening to kill him, was first elected to Congress in the 2010 GOP wave. During that race, he received former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin's endorsement and openly supported the Tea Party movement.

He was defeated two years later in his 2012 reelection bid.

Even after leaving office, West continued to spout racist and anti-Muslim comments.

In 2016, West's official Facebook page posted a meme featuring now-former Defense Secretary James Mattis, which read, "FIRED BY OBAMA TO PLEASE THE MUSLIMS. HIRED BY TRUMP TO EXTERMINATE THEM." An editor for West's website denied he posted the meme, and claimed it didn't reflect his "beliefs, principles, and values."

West has made a number of Islamophobic remarks throughout the years, including promoting the racist and baseless conspiracy that former President Barack Obama was secretly a Muslim.

"The president has an Eastern orientation, I'll put it that way," West said at an event in 2014, when an audience member falsely claimed Obama was Muslim.

West has also made a number of anti-Semitic and misogynistic comments throughout the years.

In 2013, he said feminists are "neutering American men and bringing us to the point of this incredible weakness."

And in 2013, West was pushed out of his role at a conservative media organization for calling a female staffer a "Jewish American princess."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.