Politics

Democratic reps want West to apologize for Wasserman Schultz comments

Five Democratic women are calling on Florida Republican Rep. Allen West to apologize for comments he made in an email to Florida Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

In the email, West called the congresswoman “the most vile, unprofessional and despicable member of the U.S. House of Representatives.”

In a letter to the GOP leadership and West, Democratic Reps. Gwen Moore (WI), Carolyn Maloney (NY), Lois Capps (CA), Donna Edwards (MD) and Jackie Speier (CA) called not only on West to repent, but also on the GOP to disavow his words.

“By any objective viewing of her floor speech, she was well within the rules of decorum for our chamber,” they wrote. “Yet, Mr. West’s response was completely out of order and an offensive personal attack with a clearly sexist tone. We call on you to disavow this response in the strongest of terms.”

West sent his Tuesday email in response to criticism on the House floor from Wasserman Schultz of his position on “Cut, Cap, and Balance.” She leveled her criticism when West was not present to defend himself.

“We also call on Mr. West to immediately apologize to Ms. Wasserman Schultz and vow to keep debate about policy, not personality,” the five added. (Rep. West stands by email attack on Wasserman Schultz)

Slate’s David Weigel noted Wednesday, however, that West’s complaint was not unfounded. House rules prohibit members from addressing other members.

“A Member must stand while speaking and address the Chair in their remarks (Mister or Madam Speaker; Mister or Madam Chairman). They must also refrain from addressing other Members, the President, the gallery, or the television viewing audience,” Weigel quoted from the rule book.

Read the full letter (h/t Chad Pergram at Gretawire):

 

Dear Speaker Boehner, Majority Leader Cantor, Majority Whip McCarthy and Representative West:

 

We know that politics can get rough and that strong debate brings out many emotions. And as women, we are often held to a higher standard in public discourse.

 

News reports indicate that after last night’s debate, Congressman Allen West sent a completely inappropriate and sexist e-mail in total disrespect of our colleague, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

 

By any objective viewing of her floor speech, she was well within the rules of decorum for our chamber. Yet, Mr. West’s response was completely out of order and an offensive personal attack with a clearly sexist tone. We call on you to disavow this response in the strongest of terms.

 

We also call on Mr. West to immediately apologize to Ms. Wasserman Schultz and vow to keep debate about policy, not personality.

 

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