Republican Rep.-elect Allen West of Florida, who caused an uproar this week by naming controversial conservative radio host Joyce Kaufman as his chief of staff, bowed to outside pressure Thursday and dropped her from his staff.
“It is with deep regret that this Congressional office and the people of [Florida Congressional District 22] will not have Joyce Kaufman as my Chief of Staff,” said Mr. West in a prepared statement. “Joyce is a good friend, and will remain loyal to South Floridians and to me. I will always seek Joyce’s counsel for being a good Representative of this Congressional District.
Ms. Kaufman later said on her radio show Thursday that she agreed to step down because because she didn’t want to tarnish the reputation of such a “distinguished, monumental man,” according to the Miami Herald.
“I will not be used in an electronic lynching by proxy,” she said.
Ms. Kaufman has been condemned by a broad range of groups and critics for comments against Democrats, illegal immigrants and for potentially inciting violence.
One such comment suggested armed resistance if conservative candidates weren’t elected during last week’s midterm elections, saying “I am convinced that the most important thing the founding fathers did to ensure me my First Amendment rights was they gave me a Second Amendment. And if ballots don’t work, bullets will.”
Ms. Kauffman also inflamed liberals this week by calling outgoing Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, “garbage.”
The Hispanic group Somos Republicans on Wednesday called for Mr. West to dismiss Ms. Kauffman because of comments she made advocating the “hanging of illegal immigrants.”
“Her anti-Hispanic-friendly views are well documented,” said the group’s founder, DeeDee Blase. “There is a large Hispanic population in the State of Florida; and [her hiring by Mr. West] is concerning to us because we cannot afford to lose this state as it relates to the 2012 Presidential elections with anti-Hispanic rhetoric.”
Mr. West, who defeated Democratic Rep. Ron Klein by more than 8 percentage points, is no stranger to controversy, as his campaign came under scrutiny for ties to a criminal motorcycle gang.