Republican West urges bikers to force Democrat to leave rally
The Florida Democratic Party yanked one of its staffers from field work after a confrontation with bikers supporting Allen West, Republican candidate for the District 22 Congressional seat, saying that they were concerned for his safety.
The staffer had earlier shot a video of himself being forced to leave a public park by the bikers, after West asked them to escort him out.
West was speaking at a public park in Delray Beach, and the Democratic staffer was recording it, a common practice. At one point, West can be heard saying “What we have here is this Florida Democratic Party stalker who follows me around, and I want to tell you I don’t want him here, please escort him away.” At that point a group men in red T-shirts and leather vests bearing the insignia of the “South Florida Confederation of Clubs,” which includes a Confederate flag patch, then surround the staffer and make him walk to his car, where they take down his license plate. At one point the camera jerks and the staffer tells the bikers not to touch him.
Florida’s Democratic Party put out a release linking the Confederation of Clubs to the Outlaws Motorcycle Club, one of the country’s largest and most notorious. The U.S. Department of Justice considers the Outlaws one of the motorcycle clubs that uses its chapters as “conduits for criminal activity.” An Outlaws member sits on the board of the Confederation of Clubs, according to the group’s website.
The West campaign sent out a rebuttal stating that “the latest attacks aimed at associating 22-year Army Veteran LTC(R) Allen West with a criminal and racist gang are completely baseless, and are nothing short of political hatchet jobs.”
A West spokesperson told Miami’s NBC station, “I saw a kid who was asked to leave, these are Vietnam veterans, not thugs. They were attending a private Allen West function to honor American veterans.”
But West has previously spoken at biker rallies, and posed with members of the Outlaws. In an interview with NBC Nightly News he said that does not mean he condones all of their actions. But NBC obtained a memo where a West supporter voices concern about the image of “criminal organization members in leather” at West rallies, and West responded, “please no more reference to ‘criminals.’ … I was never more amazed at how members of the Outlaws guarded me” during an interview.