UPDATED: Allen West Ditches Right-Wing Radio Host Who May Have Triggered Violent Threat For Chief Of Staff

On Tuesday, ThinkProgress reported that Rep.-elect Allen West (R-FL) — who received unusually strong backing from national Republicans — had hired Joyce Kaufman, a Florida right-wing radio host to be his congressional chief of staff. Kaufman has a long history of making offensive and inflammatory comments, and a House of Representatives standards official told ThinkProgress that hiring Kaufman, who said she would continue to do work for her radio station, was “potentially problematic.” “There may be potential confidentiality issues” in her duel roles, the official said. But today on her radio show, Kaufman said she will be not be taking the job because she does not want to be subject to an “electronic lynching”:

“I will not be used in an electronic lynching by proxy,” radio talk show host Joyce Kaufman just said, announcing why she won’t come to Washington to serve as the Broward Republican’s chief of staff. The conservative host’s appointment earlier this week touched off an uproar on the Internet — and TV — and Kaufman said she doesn’t want it to tarnish West, calling him a “distinguished, monumental man.”

“You guys can do all the things you want to me, but I will not participate in you trying to destroy him,” she said on her radio show, apparently referring to the press — whom she is now calling “vermin.”

West confirmed the news in a statement, saying, “It is with deep regret that this congressional office and the people of CD 22 will not have Joyce Kaufman as my chief of staff.” However, he said he will still rely on Kaufman for “counsel.” Following ThinkProgress’ report, MSNBC host Rachel Maddow highlighted a statement from Kaufman promoting violent insurrection, saying that “if ballots don’t work, bullets will.” Watch it:


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Several Florida news outlets are reporting that Kaufman “may have triggered” a threat against Broward County public schools this weak that led to a lockdown of the entire system, affecting over 230,000 students. “According to sources, something Kaufman had said at a tea party rally, set someone off to write a threatening email to that station,” Miami TV station WSNV reports. “According to sources close to the investigation into that threat, which forced the county-wide lockdown of Broward schools, libraries and other government buildings, the person who sent the email was motivated by hearing Kaufman’s words on Maddow’s show,” and police said the threat was issued “soon after” Maddow’s segment highlighting Kaufman’s call for violent insurrection aired. Police have identified a subject, who issued the threat in an email to Kaufman that read: “I’m planning something big around the government building here in Broward County, maybe a post office, maybe even a school.”