Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) on Thursday slammed colleague Bobby Rush for donning a hoodie on the House floor while making a statement about Trayvon Martin, the unarmed Florida teen shot and killed by a neighborhood watch volunteer last month.
“Right now the security folks on the House floor are laughing about it," West said on Laura Ingraham's radio program. "But initially, they did not know who it was and they were concerned that someone had just walked off of the street or kind of had broken away from a tour group."
Rush, an Illinois Democrat, took off his suit jacket and pulled on a gray hood and dark glasses Wednesday, continuing to speak even after the presiding officer declared him out of order. In an interview later with The Blaze, Rush said he wore the hoodie "to demonstrate my outrage of Trayvon Martin’s murder." So-called "hoodie marches" and "hoodie protests" have been held around the country in Martin's honor.
"This is the type of immature gimmickry we see coming from the other side that you know does not have any place, especially on the House floor and really in the United States," West said of the incident.
West, a Tea Party favorite, said there needs to be a move away from classifying Martin's death as a racial incident.
“I put out a statement yesterday on my Twitter and Facebook about this, you know bounty that has been put out there by the New Black Panther Party,” he said. “This is what happens when irrational voices and ideological media bias take over the political discourse and public dialogue. And we have to move away from that."
"The bottom line is there was a tragedy. A young American man lost his life. We need to allow the investigation to continue on but, you know right now he was unarmed and you know, some -- someone has to be held accountable for that,” he said.
Responding to Ingraham's point about whether the shooting was self-defense, West continued: “Even if you’re a police officer, Laura and you shoot someone that's unarmed — you’re put on desk duty,” he said. “Your weapon is taken away. So that’s my whole point." That's my whole point, that [George Zimmerman] should not be out there walking free with a concealed weapons license," he said.
Listen below. Comments about Rush begin at the 3:40 mark: