Fox News contributor Allen West is claiming that President Obama is "purposefully creating drama globally" like the recent Malaysia Airlines M17 crash.
In a post on his website headlined, "298 souls on MH17 have paid the price for Obama's 'flexibility,'" West referenced a 2012 video of Obama telling then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev he would have "flexibility" after his re-election, writing:
Sadly, hundreds of Ukrainians and 298 souls on MH17 have paid the price for the weakness and abject cowardice of Obama's "flexibility."
And here in America we quibble over a lawsuit against this charlatan.
The blood on Vladimir Putin's hands was poured by Barack Obama who is indirectly responsible, accountable accountable [sic] and no different than Neville Chamberlain's weakness in the face of the 20th Century maniacal dictator Adolf Hitler.
He concluded: "So much for no drama Obama. He is purposefully creating drama globally." West did not expand on why he thinks Obama is "purposely creating" "drama" like the Malaysia crash.
Fox News contributor Allen West didn't dispute an audience member who falsely claimed that "Obama is a Muslim," responding that he's "not going to get into that" but the president "has an Eastern orientation, I'll put it that way."
During the event's question and answer segment, an attendee told West: "I personally believe that Obama is a Muslim. I believe he has a corrupt administration. And I believe that he is doing everything in his power to bring this country down."
West agreed that Obama is bringing down the country, and then moved on to the Muslim claim by stating: "Now the point about him being a Muslim or not, you know, I'm not going to get into that. But this is what I will tell you. The formative years of your life have an incredible impact upon your worldview and your perspective. Okay? My years from zero to ten, I was learning all the SEC football fight songs. I was going to Atlanta Braves, you know, baseball games."
By contrast, West said, "The president has an Eastern orientation, I'll put it that way. You go back and you look at the speech he gave at the Turkish general assembly and also the speech he gave in Cairo, Egypt, in 2009. That defines his perspective. Anybody that allows Muslim Brotherhood affiliated individuals to be advisers in your, in his administration -- I got a problem with that. Okay? And I will tell you, that's an impeachable offense, folks."
He concluded: "Don't care whether or not he's a Muslim. I care about his orientation. And his association. But you're absolutely right. One thing I'll tell you -- he has told us exactly what he wants to do."
If you're a conservative who wants to impeach President Obama, time is running out. You need to give Allen West money, and quickly. It's an "emergency."
In a series of emails sent to subscribers in recent weeks, Fox News contributor and former Republican congressman Allen West has implored people to donate to his PAC, the Allen West Guardian Fund, in order to hasten Obama's impeachment. And West isn't alone -- numerous conservative media figures and political groups are looking to cash in on Obama's supposedly impending impeachment through donations, books, and various impeachment merchandise.
Right-wing media have been pushing for Obama's impeachment for more than five years over a wide range of issues, but impeachment chatter got a boost earlier this July when Sarah Palin penned an opinion piece for Breitbart.com. She called for Obama's removal from office, arguing that the president's "unsecured border crisis is the last straw that makes the battered wife say, 'no mas.'" She reiterated her call on Fox's Hannity, telling viewers it was time to "get going" on impeachment.
While numerous members of the conservative noise machine are agitating for impeachment, not everyone is on board. Fox News contributor Erick Erickson, for one, thinks "impeachment would be crazy" at the moment.
But regardless of whether impeachment is good politics for conservatives, it's starting to look like good business.
Fox News' Special Report highlighted conservative calls for President Obama's impeachment, but hid that the calls they cite as coming from "some prominent outside conservative voices" actually originated with Fox's own contributors.
On the July 10 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Bret Baier, Fox correspondent Mike Emanuel reported that "some prominent outside conservative voices have called for President Obama to be impeached":
After years of conservative media figures agitating for congressional Republicans to impeach President Obama, today House Speaker John Boehner announced plans to sue the president for not "faithfully executing the laws of this country."
Discussing the suit -- which would be filed on behalf of the House of Representatives -- Boehner claimed that it was "not about impeachment." But in a piece for The New Republic, Brian Beutler argues that conservatives' push to stir up outrage over Obama has led Republicans to seek a "relief valve for the building pressure to draw up articles of impeachment":
Having created a clamor within the GOP conference, and the conservative base, over Obama's use of executive power, Republicans now must satisfy the consequent appetite to do something about it. Suing Obama is meant to do that. The goal is to be head-turning enough to simultaneously address coalition management obligations--calm restive conservatives, keep the base energized--and serve as a relief valve for the building pressure to draw up articles of impeachment.
The risk is that it'll whet rather than diminish the right's appetite for impeachment. But Boehner doesn't have much choice. You can't gin up this much outrage over Obama's actions, and then do nothing to stop him, when the Constitution provides you so many tools to do just that.
Much of the building pressure for impeachment has come not only from congressional Republicans, but from conservative media figures, whose calls for impeachment have been a steady drumbeat since Obama took office.
Fox News contributor Allen West dismissed the recent capture of Benghazi terrorist suspect Ahmed Abu Khattala as a "smoke and mirrors" ploy and questioned whether Abu Khattala was really the "mastermind" behind the attacks or "the Obama administration's fall guy." Yet West just months ago co-signed a letter calling for Khattala's capture because he was the "ringleader of the attack."
During an appearance today on Fox News Radio, West said that Abu Khattala has been "seen out in public and everything, and now all of a sudden the American people are supposed to believe that he is the mastermind?" He added: "He ends up being the Obama administration's fall guy. Just the same as the poor guy who produced the quote, unquote, anti-Islamic video," a reference to Innocence of Muslims filmmaker Nakoula Basseley Nakoula.
On January 6, West co-signed a letter to House Speaker John Boehner demanding a Benghazi select committee and calling for the capture of Abu Khattala. The letter, which is posted on West's website, states:
Not a single terrorist in this well-planned and executed military attack by radical Islamists has been apprehended. Ahmed Abu Khattala, a ringleader of the attack, granted long interviews to reporters in Benghazi cafes, while the Obama administration -- and you -- have done nothing. Nearly 16 months after the terrorist attack, American public has no accountability and no plan of action from House leadership.
On the radio, West also bizarrely claimed that the attention on Benghazi was distraction from matters such as Iraq and immigration, stating: "This is all smoke and mirrors. This all distraction. This all wag the dog stuff coming out of the Obama administration while we have a serious situation going on in Baghdad, while we have a serious situation going in on our southern border." (To "wag the dog" means to "purposely divert attention from what would otherwise be of greater importance, to something else of lesser significance.") West similarly wrote on his website yesterday that Abu Khattala was "conveniently captured to deflect attention from all the other nightmares."
Listen to West's comments from the June 18 edition of Fox News Radio's Kilmeade & Friends:
Since the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, media have scandalized the administration's negotiations with the Taliban, conducted through a third-party, despite the fact that foreign policy experts and military leaders have long acknowledged the necessity of such negotiations.
Conservatives have responded to the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl by attacking his father, questioning President Obama's sanity and patriotism, and calling for impeachment.
Allen West has a suggestion for how to respond to the release of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl: give Allen West's political action committee money.
West, a Fox News contributor and former Republican congressman, sent an email today to his mailing list criticizing the Obama administration for securing the release of Bergdahl from the Taliban in Afghanistan in a prisoner swap.
He wrote that in getting Bergdahl released, "America now negotiates with terrorists" -- a statement that ignores the country's long and bipartisan history of such negotiations -- and added: "Today is just another sad day where our own Commander-in-chief is more dangerous than the enemies we're fighting."
West segued from calling Obama worse than terrorists because he negotiated the release of a captured soldier to soliciting money for his political action committee, The Allen West Guardian Fund. West wrote: "I have just the solution ... Will you make an immediate contribution of $25, $50, $100 or more right away to Allen West Guardian Fund?"
West, who served in the Army but left under a cloud of controversy, has advocated that "the U.S. House of Representatives should file articles of impeachment against Barack Hussein Obama" in response to the Bergdahl negotiations. He also suggested that Bowe Bergdahl's father may have claimed the White House for Islam by saying a common Arabic phrase during his Rose Garden appearance with the president to announce his son's release from captivity.
In December 2013, as Paul Waldman noted, West criticized President Obama for purportedly having "abandoned" Bergdahl. West wrote: "This past POW/MIA national day of recognition, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel reiterated a pledge to secure the young Army NCO being held captive, but have there been any actions? Any time, attention, or even mention from the Commander-in-Chief? Nah, no camera highlights in it for him." He later admonished readers to "not forget" Bergdahl because he deserves "our time and attention."
Media Matters previously documented how conservatives pundits have raised funds for their organizations by invoking the September 2012 Benghazi attacks.
Several conservative media figures are floating the idea of impeaching President Obama over the recent release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.
Numerous right-wing activists, media figures, and politicians have been trying to drum up a reason to impeach Obama ever since he took office more than five years ago. National Review writer and former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy released a new book today on subject, endeavoring to explain the "political case" for impeaching the president. In making his case, McCarthy rehashes a wide number of well-worn supposed scandals from the Obama administration. Fittingly, McCarthy has also been at the forefront of the latest calls for impeachment, arriving right as his book hits the shelves.
In comments on June 2 to the Daily Mail's website, the Mail Online, McCarthy reportedly called the exchange of Taliban figures for Bergdahl a "high crime and misdemeanor," because, he claimed, the administration did not sufficiently notify Congress of the planned transfer. The Mail article was quickly highlighted on the Drudge Report.
Appearing on Fox & Friends the next morning, Fox News judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano said Obama "may very well have committed a federal crime by giving material assistance to a terrorist organization." Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy responded by plugging McCarthy's book and pointing to his comments to the Mail Online about impeachment. Napolitano added that it was a "very, very valid argument that people are going to start talking about."
Later in the day, Fox News' Outnumbered host Sandra Smith asked "does this become an impeachable offense" and highlighted Napolitano's claim that "this breaks federal law."
Fox News contributor Allen West posted on his website, "the U.S. House of Representatives should file articles of impeachment against Barack Hussein Obama." He continued, "I submit that Barack Hussein Obama's unilateral negotiations with terrorists and the ensuing release of their key leadership without consult -- mandated by law -- with the U.S. Congress represents high crimes and misdemeanors, an impeachable offense."
Allen West did not immediately take the stage following his introduction at last weekend's Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans. In his place, a horse-mounted Mel Gibson flashed onto two jumbo screens, rallying Scottish national forces against the approaching armies of Edward I. Only after Gibson's Braveheart monologue concluded did West emerge to a standing ovation. For anyone who had missed the point, the Fox News commentator unpacked the clip's lesson: It's 1297 all over again, a Braveheart is needed to lead conservatives over the forces of tyranny, and that man is a one-term rep from Broward County named Colonel Allen West.
"This is a good depiction of where we are on the ideological battlefield," said West. "We look across and think, 'They are too many.' We see the secular humanists, the progressive socialists, the radical Islamists. But we can win back our freedom. I've been on battlefields, and there is no difference between ideological battlefields and battlefields where bullets are flying, because you can lose your life physically, or you can lose your life metaphysically. We face the challenge of raising up a new Braveheart. The American people are looking for someone to come on the battlefield and say, 'Rally around me.'"
West's Braveheart bit was the boldest Hollywood-inspired open at the semiannual Leadership Conference since 2010, when Newt Gingrich strutted out from behind the curtains like a prizefighter and soaked up applause against speakers blasting "Eye of the Tiger" from Rocky. Gingrich's position back then resembled West's today. He was a controversial out-of-office firebrand trying to generate buzz for a long shot presidential bid. Gingrich's most important national platform at the time, now possessed by West, was a contributor gig at Fox News.
Since refashioning himself as a conservative media figure, West has equaled his reputation for inflammatory and divisive red-meat rhetoric. In recent media appearances and posts on his website, he's hinted that war hero and Democratic Rep. Tammy Duckworth may be harboring treasonous thoughts and performed acrobatic feats of logic to fuel his conservatives' 24-hour a day Benghazi hype-furnace. At every turn, he's told conservative audiences that he's pondering a run for the presidency.
But in New Orleans last weekend, there was no apparent momentum for an Allen West presidential candidacy. The black conservative that most excited the crowd was the one who did not attend. A large and dedicated contingent of "Draft Ben Carson" activists worked the floor collecting emails and handing out buttons and pamphlets. Like West, Carson is a contributor to Fox News. Unlike West, Carson has apparently used the airtime to develop traction among the conservative rank and file. Where the retired brain surgeon finished a close second behind Ted Cruz in the event's straw poll, the Army veteran failed to register. Carson's edge over West also likely extends beyond the GOP base. While the former can sit down with NBC's David Gregory to talk about his New York Times best-selling book, West has never been seen trying to appeal to a broader constituency.
But if his perch at Fox means West still has access to a national conservative audience, it's an open question whether he can win another Congressional race in Florida, never mind a Republican primary.
It wasn't long ago Allen West seemed a somewhat plausible bet for the first African-American on a Republican presidential ticket. Among the Tea Party freshman of 2010, he stood out for his fastball stump speech, delivered with the commanding cast and bearing of retired U.S. Army Lt. Colonel. During his two-year term, he grew a national conservative following as the quintessential tea party congressman. As his reelection campaign approached, he was no longer just the first black Republican Congressman to win in Florida since Reconstruction, he seemed the black conservative best positioned to advance to the national stage ahead of party turning sharply to the right.
Then he got redistricted.
In addition to hyping calls for Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Eric Shinseki's resignation, Fox News hosts have advocated for two of their own contributors to fill the position.
A preliminary report released by the VA Inspector General on May 28 substantiated allegations of VA officials falsifying records at the Phoenix, Arizona VA medical center, and found that at least 1,700 veterans waiting to see a doctor there were never scheduled for an appointment or placed on a waitlist. This review has prompted calls for Shinseki to step down, which right-wing media figures have enthusiastically promoted despite Speaker of the House John Boehner's refusal to demand the secretary's resignation.
But Fox was not content to simply call for Shinseki's resignation -- two prominent Fox hosts have replacements in mind for Shinseki, both of whom are the network's very own contributors.
During a May 28 interview on Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, host Bill O'Reilly advocated for Fox contributor Colonel Ralph Peters to replace Shinseki. When Peters -- who has repeatedly defended Shinseki -- skeptically asked O'Reilly who would replace Shinseki in the event of his resignation, O'Reilly was quick to respond, "You!" to Peters' chagrin:
From the May 22 edition of MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Reports:
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Fox News contributor Allen West questioned the "loyalties" of decorated veteran and Illinois Rep. Tammy Duckworth for serving with her fellow Democrats on the Benghazi select committee.
West attacked the recently announced Democratic members of the newly formed committee for dismissing the importance of Benghazi during an appearance on the May 21 broadcast of The Janet Mefferd Show.
West remarked of Duckworth: "I just don't know where her loyalties lie. You know, for her to have been a veteran, a wounded warrior for the United States Army, she should know that this is not the right thing. And hopefully, you know, she will remember the oath of office that she took as an Army officer and not the allegiance I guess she believes she has to the liberal progressives of the Democrat Party."
As her congressional biography notes, Duckworth "was one of the first Army women to fly combat missions during Operation Iraqi Freedom until her helicopter was hit by an RPG on November 12, 2004. Duckworth lost her legs and partial use of her right arm in the explosion and was awarded a Purple Heart for her combat injuries." She became a well-known advocate for veterans, and served as the director of the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs and then Assistant Secretary of Veterans Affairs on the federal level. She is currently a Lieutenant Colonel in the Illinois Army National Guard.
West is also a decorated veteran of the war in Iraq, albeit one whose service ended in controversy. He subsequently served one term in Congress, becoming a Fox News contributor after Florida voters declined to reelect him. During the interview, he also attacked Reps. Elijah Cummings, Adam Schiff, Adam Smith, and Linda Sanchez, the other Democratic appointees to the Benghazi select committee. West claimed that Smith is "one of those geeky little debaters that is going to try to micromanage every single detail," while Sanchez has a "very whiny way."
West has said Congress should consider impeaching President Obama over Benghazi. In a fundraising email for his political action committee, he accused the Obama administration of lying to the public and participating in "an ongoing cover-up to hide the truth." He's also claimed the administration has been disingenuously caring about the kidnapping of Nigerian schoolgirls to distract the public from Benghazi.
Fox News contributor Allen West accused the Obama administration of disingenuously caring about the kidnapping of Nigerian schoolgirls so they could distract the public from "all the scandals facing the Obama administration, especially Benghazi and the Select Committee."
In a post on his website headlined, "Focus on Boko Haram right now seems fishy to me," West wrote: "Are we witnessing an Obama 'Wag the Dog' moment with Boko Haram in Nigeria? I say yes. Consider all the scandals facing the Obama administration, especially Benghazi and the Select Committee." (To "wag the dog" means to "purposely divert attention from what would otherwise be of greater importance, to something else of lesser significance.")
West, who also noted controversy over the handling of the Department of Veterans Affairs and Ukraine, concluded: "So what better time than right now, to create the straw man of Boko Haram, another distraction for which no real action will take place. Anyone remember Joseph Kony? ... Gotta give it to the Democrats, they know how to make life imitate art. Sadly, as a nation we're falling for another episode of liberal progressive 'Wag the Dog.'"
West recently linked racist remarks from Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling to Benghazi. West strongly criticized Sterling, but lamented that "the outrage of the public seems to be totally focused on Mr. Sterling" when "you've got this thing with Benghazi and we have an even bigger lie, an even bigger deceit, which is even more impactful on the country that no one is really caring about."