Congressman-elect Allen West (R) is standing by Joyce Kaufman’s “ballots or bullets” comments. West choose the controversial WFTL radio talk show host as his Chief of Staff, however, she quickly resigned the position after her show was linked to threats by a listener of gun violence against Broward County schools and government building(s). The threats led to a county-wide school lockdown effecting 300 schools and over 230,000 students and their families.
West did not repudiate Kaufman’s radical rhetoric. Florida’s Sun-Sentinel reports that West called into Kaufman’s radio show Thursday to support her “fight on your battlefield” and he “will fight them on the battlefield in Washington, D.C., and we will meet in the middle after we soundly defeat them both.”
The Congressman-elect said he is “even more focused that this liberal, progressive, socialist agenda, this left-wing, vile, vicious, despicable machine that’s out there is soundly brought to its knees. You don’t have to worry about me doing the right thing in Washington, D.C.”
West told Kaufman, “I want to say to everyone out there listening that Joyce Kaufman is the most honorable, with the most impeccable integrity and character that I have met in my life and I would not be congressman-elect if Joyce Kaufman had not taken me under her wing and provided mentor and counsel to me. I am not going away. I will continue to seek your counseling and mentoring.”
West concluded by saying “I’ll see you on the high ground.”
Kaufman was one of West’s most vocal supporters during the campaign, and on July 3rd told a Tea Party rally: “I am convinced that the most important thing the founding fathers did to ensure me my First Amendment rights was they gave me a Second Amendment. And if ballots don’t work, bullets will,” she said, some things were “worth dying for.” She went on to call for the formation of a militia to fight against “tyranny…whether it comes from outside or inside.” Her speech was videotaped, aired on YouTube, and brought to national attention by MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow earlier this week.
During the campaign, West was heavily criticized after similar comments at a Tea Party rally, “You must be well-informed and well-armed because this government that we have right now is a tyrannical government.” His opponent for Florida’s 22nd Congressional district Ron Klein (D)-Boca Raton, was accused of negative campaigning after he aired West’s videotaped comments in numerous televised ads.
Federal, state and local authorities continue to investigate telephone threats to Kaufman’s show that led to the school lockdown, as well as an email sent to Kaufman that warned “something big was going to happen” possibly at a post office or a school. A “person of interest” has been identified and the investigation is ongoing, however, further details have not yet been released.