Rep. Allen West, R-Fort Lauderdale, gave an “impromptu press conference” before a speaking engagement Tuesday morning, mostly dealing with the Tucson shootings. He rejected calls for more civil rhetoric, and said that those making the calls were grandstanding, according to the Sun-Sentinel’s account:
He said people shouldn’t make snap judgments about the effect of political rhetoric. “One of the concerns I do have is the political opportunism that has come out of this. That’s kind of deplorable and unconscionable what some people are doing,” he said.
“This is not the time to look for grandstanding and things of that nature. This is a very serious incident that happened. My heart and my family’s goes out to the families that have now been affected,” he said.
In contrast, after another lone gunman killed several people, West quickly opined about the motivations and influences of Maj. Nidal Hasan after the Fort Hood shootings in November 2009:
“This enemy preys on downtrodden soldiers and teaches them extremism will lift them up,” West said in a statement. “Our soldiers are being brainwashed.”
The release added that West claims “the horrible tragedy at Fort Hood is proof the enemy is infiltrating our military.”
My former colleague, The Washington Independent’s Spencer Ackerman, blogged at the time on West’s apparent rush to judgement:
We don’t know what Hasan’s motivations actually were, let alone that he’s a symptom of “the enemy” “infiltrating” the military. Hasan, it’s worth remembering, joined the Army in 1995, even before Osama bin Laden had declared war on America.
Luke Johnson reports on Florida for The American Independent.