During an interview with the New York Times last month, Rep. Allen West (R-FL) — who has made no secret of his disdain for President Obama — said that the President should put himself in harm’s way with U.S. troops when he travels to war zones just to show that he is a true leader. “[I]f I’m asking my young men and women to go out there and put their lives on the line, I should be willing and able to do the exact same thing,” he said.
On MSNBC last night, host Lawrence O’Donnell asked West if he really believes that the President should risk his life on the battlefield. “If you disagree with the fact that I believe that leadership’s about leading from the front, then you can do that,” West said. O’Donnell noted that no President in West’s lifetime has ever done what he is asking Obama to do and offered the new GOP congressman a chance to retract his statement. However, West refused:
O’DONNELL: In your lifetime, you’ve never once had the opportunity to vote for a president who would, as you put it, put himself in harm’s way as president. You want to retract that. I’m going to give you a chance to retract that suggestion that the president of the United States should put his life in harm’s way while president when visiting war zones. This is a chance to just apologize for it and move on.
WEST: Lawrence, I’m not going to retract that statement, because I will tell you this — if I was sitting at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, I would fly into a combat theater and I would get out there and visit those troops wherever they are. That’s just the type of leader that I am.
“I’m sticking with my guns,” West said later, still refusing to apologize, although he acknowledged that “no one is going to allow the president of the United States to be in a dangerous situation.” Watch it:
West is correct — no one is going to allow Obama, or any other future president or high ranking government official, to be placed in a dangerous situation. So it seems that this is just another one of West’s baseless and gratuitous attacks on Obama. Perhaps we can look forward to seeing West join the troops on the front lines during an upcoming congressional delegation visit to Afghanistan?