House Republicans voted against taking up a resolution that would have scolded Rep. Allen West, R-Plantation, for likening the messaging of the Democratic Party to that of Hitler's propaganda machine.
The U.S. House of Representatives voted 231-188 to table the resolution, which was sponsored by Rep. Donna Edwards, D-Md. The vote was largely along party lines.
Several Jewish organizations asked West to apologize last week after he compared the messaging of the Democratic Party to that of Nazis.
"If Joseph Goebbels was around, he’d be very proud of the Democrat Party, because they have an incredible propaganda machine," West told reporters Thursday afternoon in Washington. "Let’s be honest, you know, some of the people in the media are complicit with this and enabling them to get that type of message out."
The Anti-Defamation League said it was "deeply dismayed" by what West said. “Such outrageous Holocaust analogies have no place in our political dialogue," said Abraham H. Foxman, the ADL's national director as well as a Holocaust survivor. "They are offensive, they trivialize real historical events, and they diminish the memory of the six million Jews and millions of others who perished in the Holocaust."
Edwards said Tuesday in a statement that West's "outrageous and insensitive remarks" have "no place in our nation’s political discourse." "This privileged resolution states clearly that this distasteful behavior cannot and will not be tolerated in the House of Representatives," she said. "The American people demand and deserve true leaders who are willing to work together to solve the nation’s economic and fiscal challenges. I ask my congressional colleagues to join me in sending a clear message that we share that priority."
West's spokeswoman Angela Sachitano said in an e-mail that he had no comment. Democrats have "stooped to a new level in their attempts to bring down Representative West, who they have deemed a threat to their power," she said. "Here we are in the midst of serious congressional business, and they are focusing their energy on Representative West."
West, a freshman Republican from a heavily Jewish district in South Florida, made the remarks when he being asked about why the GOP was doing so poorly in pools. A poll released last week by the Pew Research Center found people blame Republicans more than Democrats for Washington's gridlock. The Pew poll warned that public discontent with Congress has reached record levels, a prospect that could make re-election challenging for Republican incumbents.
West told reporters last week that Republicans needed to get better at messaging, and when asked whether to clarify that he was likening Democrats to Nazis, said that reporters would twist his words to suit their agenda.