This morning, in an interview with CNN’s Soledad O’Brien, West repeated the charges but refused to identify which members he believed to be Communists:
O’BRIEN: So name names for me. Which? Start naming the 78 to 81.
WEST: Oh we don’t have to do that…
O’BRIEN: No, no, we do, I’m dying to know.
WEST: You can go look up the Congressional Progressive Caucus. You can go look up the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
O’BRIEN: I’ve got them right here.
WEST: Well then you’ve got the names.
O’BRIEN: So [Minnesota Democratic Rep.] Keith Ellison is a Communist?
WEST: Soledad, Soledad you know something…
O’BRIEN: [Arizona Democratic Rep.] Raúl Grijalva is a Communist?
WEST: Well look, I’m just talking about the fact that the ideologies, the principles you believe in.
O’BRIEN: [Wisconsin Democratic Rep.] Tammy Baldwin is a Communist? [California Democratic Rep.] Judy Chu is a Communist?
WEST: You can call it whatever you want. You can call it whatever you want. I’m talking about their beliefs.
O’BRIEN: No but I want to know what you’re calling it.
WEST: I’m calling it this: Communist, Progressive, Marxist, Socialist, Statist — which is another term that’s been used. I’m looking at the ideologies.
Watch the video:
West repeated his previous claims in the interview that, “at the turn of the century…American Communists renamed themselves ‘Progressive,’” and that the Congressional Progressive Caucus “actually wanted to have a constitutional amendment to redistribute wealth in the United States of America.” The amendment to which he apparently refers merely called for a progressive tax system — an idea so radical that even Mitt Romney has embraced it. And even if West’s take on early 20th century history were correct, his argument would be analogous to saying all Floridians are racist because a hundred years ago some racist people moved to Florida.
In 1950, then-Sen. Joe McCarthy (R-WI) famously claimed to have in his hand a list 205 known members of the Communist Party working in the U.S. Department of State. But McCarthy never made the list of names public and the list he waved during that speech was reportedly his own laundry list. It seems fitting that, like McCarthy, West is happy to launch accusations but unwilling to actually name names.