This was no October Surprise.
Allen West, the retired Army colonel and former congressman who was once charged with using some of the harshest interrogation tactics in Iraq and described the coronavirus pandemic guidelines as “tyranny,” has once again made the news for all the wrong reasons.
His name was a trending topic on Twitter this time around not just because the Republican defended a caravan of pickup truck-driving Trump supporters on a Texas highway surrounding a Biden campaign bus in an apparent act of intimidation on Friday — but also because of how he defended it.
Video footage shows the group of drivers flying Trump-Pence flags attached to their pickups drove so close to the bus that they all but controlled the direction in which it was going. One video filmed by a driver ended with a truck looking like it was inches from directly in front of the Greyhound-style passenger bus.
A different video filmed by another driver showed one truck with Trump-Pence flags intentionally bump a car next to it in an incident that could have ended much worse.
And so it was only natural for a reporter to make an obligatory request for West — who was recently elected Texas GOP Chairman to lead the country’s largest state Republican Party — to comment on the matter, right?
Wrong, according to the Texas Republican Party (RPT), which on Saturday characterized Texas Tribune reporter Abby Livingston’s question as being “about a Biden campaign bus in her attempt to portray conservatives as violent radicals, even though it is leftists from Antifa and BLM who have been assaulting, robbing, and looting fellow citizens and their property.”
It was in that context that the RPT introduced Allen’s official statement in response to the highway incident (which — spoiler alert — wasn’t even about the highway incident).
“Three Trump supporters have been executed, one in Portland, one in Denver, and one Milwaukee,” Allen began, off-topic, before further deflecting to the racist white couple in St. Louis who aimed guns at unarmed Black Lives Matter activists this summer. “A leftist mob attempted to storm the house of the McCloskeys, threatened to burn their house down, rape Mrs. McCloskey, and then kill them both.”
Okay, but what about the vehicular intimidation?
“Where is the liberal corporate media’s concern about that real violence?” West asked nonsensically.
He then took a page out of Trump’s playbook of lies and vilified the media.
“Additionally, none of what your question implies is accurate,” he said without providing proof to the contrary. “It is more fake news and propaganda.”
Finally, West, ever the Trump supporter, boldly predicted the president’s re-election victory and ended his brief statement with — of course — a conspiracy theory about George Soros, the billionaire Democratic donor accused without proof of funding protests against police killings of Black people.
“Prepare to lose…stop bothering me,” West said. “Maybe Soros can cut y’all another check in 2022.”
This isn’t the first time West has addressed highway incidents in recent months.
It was only in May when the one-term Florida congressman suffered “a concussion, several fractured bones, and multiple lacerations” after his motorcycle crashed following a coronavirus lockdown protest demanding Texas reopen for business. He’s on record as referring to the “tyranny that we see in the great state of Texas, where we have executive orders and mandates, people telling us what we can and cannot do, who is essential, who is not essential.”
Texas, at the time, was a coronavirus hotspot with surging cases and deaths. More than five months later, the Lone Star State remains among those states experiencing a strong new wave of cases and on Saturday surpassed California in that statistics despite having a smaller population. The distinction left Texas with the most coronavirus cases in the U.S.
Oh, did we mention how West interrogated an Iraqi policeman in 2003 by allowing soldiers to beat him? West even “threatened to kill” the policeman and acted like he was doing so by “taking the suspect outside, put him on the ground near a weapons clearing barrel and fired his 9 mm pistol into the barrel,” according to CNN’s report at the time.
“I know the method I used was not right, but I wanted to take care of my soldiers,” West said during a court-martial hearing.
Fred Wellman, of the Lincoln Project political action committee, described West in a tweet as “a war criminal.”
As far as his political career goes, West has never kept it a secret how much he resents Barack Obama, who was already the president when West won his congressional election in 2010. Citing the prisoner swap with the Taliban that freed U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, West called for Obama to be impeached in 2014.
“Obama’s breaking of the law in this case presents serious national security concerns — for all Americans,” West said at the time. “This is aiding and abetting the enemy, which goes along with the collusion of this administration with Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated organizations and supplying weapons and arms to Islamists.”
West, however, has been conspicuously silent — like Trump — about reports that Russia secretly offered to pay the Taliban to kill American soldiers in Afghanistan.
This is America.