Former Rep. Allen West insinuates Trump picked Gen. Mattis to 'exterminate' Muslims

Update 6:30 pm: The following message was sent to AOL.com as well as posted on former Rep. Allen West's official Facebook page:

"Message to our followers: Hello everyone. This is Michele Hickford, Editor-in-Chief of allenbwest.com. Last night I posted a meme without Col. West's knowledge or consent which was inappropriate and crossed the line. I take full responsibility for this. It was wrong. I was wrong. It does not reflect Col. West's beliefs. I (Michele Hickford) personally apologize for any offense caused - and especially to Col. West. to whom I apologize for adversely affecting his reputation, principles and values."

Update 12:55 pm: The original post shared by former Rep. Allen West's official Facebook page has been deleted.

An image was shared by former Republican Congressman Allen West's official Facebook page early Saturday that stated Gen. James Mattis was named defense secretary by President-elect Donald Trump to "exterminate" Muslims.

The image, which utilizes a typical meme layout with block text on the top and bottom, reads, "Fired by Obama to please the Muslims," and "hired by Trump to exterminate them." The words are placed over a photo of Gen. Mattis in United States military garb. The name "Mad Dog Mattis" is also featured.

Many of the top comments on West's Facebook post denounce the meme as going "too far," with multiple comments claiming it to be "too close to Hitler." Other commenters point out the meme's lack of distinction between "radical islamic terrorists" and an "entire religion."

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"Too far. I am a conservative, but once you start using words like exterminate, you start to come too close to Hitler parallels with his 'extermination' of the jews," one comment read.

Former Rep. West currently has over 2.5 million Facebook followers, however It is unclear at this moment if he shared the image himself. The post has already garnered almost 40 thousand likes and nearly 9 thousand shares.

Trump announced on December 1 that he plans to appoint Mattis as defense secretary. The retired general reportedly earned the name "Mad Dog" after the bloody 2004 battle for Fallujah during the Iraq War.

At a 2015 congressional hearing, Mattis once said of Islam, "The fundamental question I believe is, 'Is political Islam in our best interest?' If not, what is our policy to authoritatively support the countervailing forces?"

For West, however, this is not the first time the former Florida representative has stirred up controversy surrounding Islam. In September of this year, a group of over 100 Saint Louis University students walked out of a speech by the retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel in protest of his use of the term "radical Islam."

In 2013, West came under fire for a tweet that claimed Muslims are "honor killings, beheadings, suicide bombings."

AOL.com has reached out for comment from former Congressman Allen West and will update this post if one is received.

BY: WILLIAM STEAKIN