Florida Republican Rep. Allen West told The Daily Caller that Democratic Rep. James Clyburn and Rev. Al Sharpton claiming Newt Gingrich used race to win in the South Carolina GOP presidential primary is “absolutely reprehensible.”
“Under President Obama’s leadership, there’s been a 41 percent increase in food stamp recipients in the United States of America,” West told TheDC after hosting a Conservative Black Forum on Capitol Hill Monday. (RELATED: More on Allen West)
“If there are people such as Rep. Clyburn that don’t want to face up to the truth then that’s on them and I think it’s absolutely reprehensible that they feel that the only thing they can fall back on is try to create some type of racial division which we know that the Democrats are already trying to create some type of class warfare division as well,” he said.”
West added, “We don’t need these gimmicks that the Democrats and people like Clyburn and also I heard Al Sharpton made some very ugly remarks, we don’t need that.”
Clyburn told CNN Sunday that Gingrich was appealing to a racist “element” of the Republican Party by referring to Obama as “the food stamp president.”
South Carolina Republican Rep. Tim Scott and former Oklahoma Republican Rep. J.C. Watts joined West and other African-American conservatives at the forum. The Republican National Committee was invited by West but did not attend.
“The Republican Party, at their leadership level, they missed a great opportunity to be here, we did invite them and they obviously should hear that there are people out there that say they think us but they’re not voting like us,” said West.
“There’s an opportunity to engage the minority community, the black community.”
West said that the Democratic Party has been able to attract minority voters with “a better messaging machine” compared to the GOP.
“They are better communicators and for whatever reason, over the past 20, 30 maybe 35 years they have been able to focus more so on equality of achievement, which has led to economic dependency and people have not been paying attention to our message of equality of opportunity which leads to economic freedom, that’s the message we have to get out there,” West told TheDC.