Allen West Becomes First Republican to Join Black Caucus Since 1996

And he still doesn't think hiring a chief of staff who advocated hanging undocumented immigrants was all that bad.

By Jamilah King Jan 06, 2011

It seems like Tea Party favorite Allen West is going to try his best to bring the GOP and Black Caucus closer together after all. On Wednesday, the newly minted member of Congress became the first Republican member to join the Congressional Black Caucus since 1996.

West joined South Carolina Rep. Tim Scott in being the first black Republicans to serve in Congress since 2003.

The retired army army lieutenant colonel acknowledged that he’ll likely be at odds with most of the Caucus’s members.

"You bring a different perspective, but I think we’re all working toward the same end, which is what is best for our country and within the African-American community," West said, according to the Washington Post.

West also acknowledged being the first black Republican since Reconstruction to represent Florida in Congress.

"The last time there was a black Republican congressman from Florida it was back in the Reconstruction, Josiah T. Walls," West told reporters. "And to finally resurrect his legacy, that’s what this is all about here. When you talk about the greatness of America, I think that it shows that this is where I should be and this is where my parents would’ve had me."

Notably, West made headlines shortly after his election after it was discovered his appointed chief of staff, Joyce Kauffman, advocated the lynching of undocumented immigrants. Though West eventually replaced Kauffman, he still doesn’t think she was all that bad.