It's not the 1940s or the 1950s, Joe McCarthy is no longer rooting out alleged Soviet-supporters in the Legislature and the country is not entangled in the Cold War, but don't tell Rep. Allen West.
The Florida Republican told a crowd in his home state Tuesday that as many as 81 members of Congress are Communists.
In a clip of the town hall-style event that was posted online Wednesday, an audience member asks, "What percentage of the American legislature do you think are card-carrying Marxists?"
"I believe there's about 78 to 81 members of the Democratic Party that are members of the Communist Party," he said in the video.
After a long pause West, a former Army lieutenant colonel, adds, "They actually don't hide it. It's called the Congressional Progressive Caucus."
The comments soon went virtually viral online and "Allen West" became a trending topic on Twitter for part of the day.
Libero Della Piana, a vice-chairman of the national Communist Party, told Politico that the West' comments were a "sad ploy."
"I just think it's an absurd way to cast a shadow over his colleagues," Della Piana said. "It's just guilt by association taken to an extreme."