Right-wing radio talker Joyce Kaufman -- whose July 4 call for "bullets" in favor of ballots has been linked to yesterday's threat that led to the countywide lockdown on all Broward County schools -- is on the air now and promising a statement of explanation.
She led off her explanation by announcing that she wouldn't be taking the chief of staff job for Congressman-Elect Allen West after all. "Last night, I called Congressman Allen West and told him I could not accept his" job offer, she said, adding later, "I will not be used in an electronic lynching by proxy."
UPDATED: Allen West came on the show at 2:10 p.m.
"You will continue to fight on your battlefield and your voice there," West told Kaufman, "and I'll continue to fight on the battlefield in Washington, and we'll meet in the middle after the enemy is soundly defeated."
Kaufman kept the racism theme alive throughout her show, comparing the criticism of West to that of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas during the Anita Hill controversy.
West, a Republican who like Kaufman is deeply tied to the Tea Party, announced that he had hired Kaufman as his chief of staff. That same evening, a video of Kaufman's incendiary words at a July 4 Tea Party rally in Fort Lauderdale were aired on the Rachel Maddow show on MSNBC in which Kaufman said angrily to the crowd, "And if ballots don't work, bullets will."
Yesterday morning, a threat was emailed to Kaufman's radio station that police have confirmed was sent to Kaufman. That led to a lockdown at all the schools in Broward County. The case is still under investigation, and a person of interest has reportedly been identified by law enforcement.
UPDATED: Kaufman just addressed the threat that led to the lockdown, saying that she didn't incite anyone to violence. She said it was committed by a critic of hers from outside the area. "It was a fake; all of this was a setup," she said. "These people are disgusting."
Kaufman had been silent on the entire matter up until her show began at noon. Before she announced that she had declined that the West position, she voiced contrition on
the show for the words she uttered on July 4. "I owe you an answer, and I also owe Congressman-elect Allen West an explanation," she said. "Sometimes I have a big mouth. Sometimes I say things that I wish I'd said differently or not say at all. I think it's part of my charm. It also gets a lot of people in trouble... I am who I am."
The West camp released this statement:
"It is with deep regret that this Congressional office and the people of CD 22 will not have Joyce Kaufman as my Chief of Staff. 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."
Kaufman didn't address the threat that led to the lockdown but said she had received death threats and promised to continue on the air. She said she had been encouraged by many "colleagues" including Dennis Miller and a "huge name" she wouldn't disclose who she said counseled her on how to handle the crisis.
"The worst thing that ever happened to the enemy is that I would have stayed on the air," she said, calling herself a "peace-loving person" who "believes in the ballot."
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Then she attacked the "enemy" and her critics saying that she was victim to a "despicable" and "unprincipled" campaign to derail West.
"They need to be exposed for the vile, disgusting vermin that they are," she said of her critics.
Kaufman also made it clear on more than one occasion that the decision was hers, not West's.
"No one fired me," she said.