WASHINGTON -- If Artur Davis ever does return to the House of Representatives, it's not looking like he'll have many friends left in the Congressional Black Caucus.
Davis, a former Democratic lawmaker from Alabama who switched parties and spoke at the Republican convention Tuesday, has been firing back at his former CBC colleagues all week after they sent him a letter denouncing his party switch. Specifically, 14 members of the caucus accused Davis of political opportunism and called some of his recent policy proclamations "unconscionable."
Asked about the letter on Tuesday, Davis said it didn't mean much since nearly two-thirds of the caucus didn't even sign it. "Forty-one members of the CBC. Fourteen signed it. Twenty-seven voted with their pen by not signing it," he told Fox News.
But Davis went further on Wednesday, accusing CBC lawmakers of being motivated by petty, personal reasons.
"Some of the people who signed that letter are trying to get their name in the paper, as that's a big deal for a few of them," he told Fox News in another interview. "Some people have old personal axes to grind."
Davis said he thought some who signed the letter were "sincerely motivated" since many African-Americans "feel such an intense loyalty to the president," which he said is understandable. The problem, he said, is that their support for President Barack Obama can be so strong that they are unable to consider other people's points of view.
There is "a special kind of venom and fury toward African-Americans who don't share that," Davis said.
The letter was pretty harsh. Leaders of the Black Caucus said they were writing it to express their "disdain" for comments Davis has made about certain policy issues and trashed him for his "total distortion" of Obama's record. Given that he largely supported Obama's agenda when he was a Democrat, the lawmakers concluded that his party switch must be the result of "a nakedly personal and political calculation." They also suggested that it could possibly stem from anguish left over from Davis' failed bid to secure the Democratic nomination for governor of Alabama in 2010.
Davis, who now lives in Virginia and is a practicing attorney, said the attacks on him reminded him what his grandmother taught him about responding to bullies.
"She always told me to never lower yourself to the level of other people ... who operate at a lower place than you," he told Fox News. "Ultimately, if people call you names ... that means they're not articulate enough to make a broader point."
The 14 lawmakers who signed the letter are Democratic Reps. Emanuel Cleaver (Mo.), Corrine Brown (Fla.), G.K. Butterfield (N.C.), James Clyburn (S.C.), John Conyers (Mich.), Donna Edwards (Md.), Marcia Fudge (Ohio), Barbara Lee (Calif.), John Lewis (Ga.), Gregory Meeks (N.Y.), Cedric Richmond (La.), Terri Sewell (Ala.), Bennie Thompson (Miss.) and Delegate Donna Christensen (V.I.).