Former Florida Rep. Allen West, the firebrand tea party darling who lost his congressional seat in 2012, could be headed to the Trump administration.
West, now executive director at the Texas-based National Center for Policy Analysis, met Monday at Trump Tower with Vice President-elect Mike Pence; Michael T. Flynn, President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for national security adviser; and K.T. McFarland, Trump’s choice to be his deputy national security adviser.
West is already known to another Trump team member, retired Gen. James Mattis, who will Tuesday officially be named as Trump’s nominee for secretary of defense.
In 2003, West, then an Army artillery battalion commander, faced a military investigation into allegations that he fired a gun near the head of a prisoner he was interrogating in Iraq. Authorities didn’t pursue a court-martial against West, but he was fined $5,000 and he retired from the military.
In reviewing West’s case, Mattis wrote that the incident “shows a commander who has lost his moral balance or watched too many Hollywood movies,” defense writer Thomas Ricks wrote in his 2006 book Fiasco.
In 2012, West lost his House bid to Democrat Rep. Patrick Murphy after serving one term.
The rebuke from Mattis didn’t stop West from touting Mattis on his blog, calling him a “Marine’s Marine and a man’s man” who would be a solid choice for Defense Secretary.
West joked before his meeting that he was “just here to talk about the weather” before posing for selfies with gawkers in the lobby.
West, who earned a reputation as one of the House’s brashest members, told reporters that no job had been offered, but that he had talked national security issues with the Trump team “and you know how maybe I can continue to serve my country.
“I mean they know my reputation very well,” he said. “I’m just a simple soldier and I’m the third of four generations that served this country going back to my father in World War II, and we still have a relative of ours that is continuing to serve in the Army now.”
West offered no advice to Trump on his search for a secretary of state, but said, “I’m just considering how I can best serve this country and through this administration.”
He was not always a Trump admirer, writing on Facebook in 2015 that Trump had embraced positions contrary to a strict reading of the Constitution.