Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) said the Occupy Wall Street movement was "laughable" for its "hypocrisy" and alleged that the movement had ties to the Communists and Nazis in an interview Tuesday night with conservative media outlet Newsmax.
"I think the hypocrisy of this movement is somewhat laughable," he said. "I would agree with them that we don’t need to have crony capitalism in the United States of America, where we have government picking winners or losers in the free market or trying to be a venture capitalist. But when I see signs that these people are holding up signs saying ‘end capitalism,’ then my question is: What do you replace it with?"
"I think there is a danger in the people on Capitol Hill starting to embrace this movement, especially now that we know that the American Nazi Party and the American Communist Party are also starting to align themselves with this Occupy movement," he said.
Protestors calling themselves members of "Occupy Palm Beach" protested a town hall for West Tuesday chanting "Hey, hey, ho, ho, Allen West needs to go!"
West disputed, as President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden have said, that the Occupy Wall Street movement is similar to the Tea Party.
"When you talk to somebody with the Tea Party, they can tell you what they want -- limited government that’s constitutionally mandated, fiscal responsibility, they also want to see our free market and free enterprise systems adhered to, as well as our national security," he said.
West won election in a South Florida district in 2010 that voted for Obama in 2008, in no small part due to Tea Party support. "But when you talk to these Occupy Wall Street gangs, they’re all over the place. It’s like a shotgun as opposed to a precision-guided munition," he said.
West, who is African-American, rejected that Martin Luther King Jr. would have supported the movement. "Martin Luther King Jr. would not have backed these types of protesters. He had a focus, a message. He was divinely inspired. I don’t know what the inspiration is for these individuals."
King's daughter said her father would have looked favorably upon the Occupy Wall Street movement. Obama drew parallels between King and the Occupy Wall Street movement Sunday at the dedication for Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C.
When asked whether the protests could turn violent, West said, "I think there's a propensity for that. I’m very concerned about class warfare rhetoric." In the 2010 campaign, West faced accusations over his connections to the Outlaws Motorcycle Gang, which the FBI targeted for violent crimes. He also was forced to retire from the Army in 2003 after firing a gun past an Iraqi police officer in an effort to get information.