U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Fla., stirred up a hornet’s nest when he sent a fundraising email comparing the tea party movement to the Ku Klux Klan, and it has former Congressman Allen West “thoroughly disgusted.”
The ad features several white-hooded figures, obviously Klansmen, surrounding a burning cross that forms a “T,” with the caption, “Now You Know What the ‘T’ Stands For.”
West told Fox News “The Kelly File” host Megyn Kelly that the ad reminded him of Klan images he saw growing up in the South.
“Having been born and raised in Georgia, having parents that were born and raised during the ’20s and ’30s, I remember growing up and seeing that burning cross on a clear night atop of Stone Mountain so that everyone could see it across Atlanta,” he said. “This is despicable. This is demeaning. This is disgusting. We all know that Alan Grayson is pretty much a sensationalist and he can continue to say things that are over the top.”
West said he wondered where civil rights leaders were during all the violence.
“But my concern is where is the NAACP and Ben Jealous? Where is the National Urban League and Marc Morial?” he said. “Where is Rep. John Lewis, who is from Georgia, who marched with Dr. King? Who as I was growing up was my representative as a young man in Atlanta, Ga.? Where are the voices of the Congressional Black Caucus? Revs. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson?”
The Klan, West pointed out, is rooted in the Democratic Party.
“Because, obviously what we are seeing now is the party, the Democrat Party that created the Ku Klux Klan and also created that symbol of the burning cross, is obviously still proud to have that symbol being displayed,” he said. “And, you know, to all of us in the black community and those of us also as constitutional conservatives in the tea party — we have to be outraged. And this hypocrisy cannot continue to stand.”
West tweeted the following message:
— Allen West (@AllenWest) October 22, 2013
Grayson, however, was thoroughly unapologetic, even defending the Klan-tea party comparison.
“There is overwhelming evidence that the Tea Party is the home of bigotry and discrimination in America today, just as the KKK was for an earlier generation. If the shoe fits, wear it,” Grayson said in a written statement to Fox News.
Grayson’s over-the-top statements have prompted criticism in the past, and even led to the creation of a website and Facebook page during his 2010 campaign called, “My Congressman Is Nuts.”
Watch the interview from Fox News
Watch the NBC affiliate WESH video describing the Grayson email.