CPAC Comms Chief: Former RNC Chairman Michael Steele Got Job Because He Was ‘A Black Guy’

"It's unfortunate. It's stupid. It's immature. I hope it is not a reflection of the leadership of CPAC," Steele says of Ian Walters' comments Jon Levine, provided by Published 11:03 am, Saturday, February 24, 2018 Now Playing: Conservatives, in their own words, want more guns in schools. An NRA supporter stated at a recent CPAC conference, “Armed presence is schools is something that many Americans can agree on would make schools safer.” Another stated “Most schools already have some type of security, but clearly that’s not enough as it stands right now. I’d aim more for arming the teachers. They’re already watching over the kids during the day, what’s the difference if they have a sidearm on them?” While some were adamant about more firearms in schools, others took a more moderate stance. Turning Points USA’s Charlie Kirk stated, “If teachers have some background with military training or police training, I see nothing wrong with allowing them to be armed, but I wouldn’t necessarily say that it should be mandatory or compulsory.” Another attendee stated, “I’m going to be a teacher one day. I would carry, but I definitely think that it is up to the discretion of the teacher. I don’t think you should be forced to carry and I don’t think you should — I think you should have the option.” The NRA’s leader told the conference attendees we need more guns in schools and the president thinks it’s a pretty good idea, too. But, in order to create a less violent atmosphere at schools, it seems completely counterproductive to bring more guns into the mix.  Media: NowThis News CPAC Communications Director Ian Walters raised eyebrows at this year’s conference after telling an audience Friday evening that former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele only got the job because he was “black.” “We Continue Reading

‘This fall is not going to be pretty for Republicans,’ ex-RNC chairman Michael Steele says

Time is running out for the Trump administration to enact its agenda, and disagreements on key issues between the White House, the Senate and the House will make things even harder, former Republican leader Michael Steele told CNBC on Monday. "The tension is already there on some big-ticket items like tax reform and health care that the Senate is of one mind, the House is of another and the White House is on a completely different page," the former chairman of the Republican National Committee said on "Squawk Box." He said the debt ceiling represents the strains between the executive and legislative branches. There are Republicans who came into Congress promising that they would not vote for any increase in the federal debt limit, Steele said. "But the president has already made it very clear he wants a clean vote, he wants a clean debt-spending bill increase on the table." The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has estimated the government will hit its debt limit in mid-October and will need to raise its borrowing limit or risk defaulting on its debt obligations. Steele said now is the time to pass things that are important to the administration like tax reform partly because of next year's elections. He said more pressing issues like the debt ceiling are likely to make tax reform difficult. He said an added problem for congressional Republicans is former chief strategist Stephen Bannon, who departed the Trump White House on Friday and is planning to use his role at Breitbart News to "go after" those who have compromised the president's agenda. "This fall is not going to be pretty for Continue Reading

Outgoing Republican National Committee chair Michael Steele’s 10 best gaffes

Embattled Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele abandoned his re-election bid Friday after four rounds of balloting left him far short of a second term. Steele, who just finished his first two-year term in the job, dropped out as four other hopefuls competed to become his successor. Steele, 52, urged his backers to give their support to GOP operative Maria Cino, who worked in George W. Bush's administration, but Reince Priebus, the head of the Wisconsin Republican Party, ultimately was elected after seven rounds of voting. The GOP's first black chairman received a standing ovation from the party regulars after pulling out of the race. His spotty two-year reign included huge victories by the GOP in the November elections, but for many, Steele is known more for his verbal gaffes than his electoral accomplishments. Let's take a look at some of the best. Thanks for the memories, Michael! October 2010: Uhh, remind me again, what's the minimum wage? Steele came under fire after admitting that he doesn't know what the federal minimum wage is. In an interview with MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell, Steele refused to rule out repealing or lowering the minimum wage. When pressed, the chairman couldn't cite the pay rate for America's lowest earners. "What is the minimum wage, Michael?" the host asked. "You really like the minimum wage, don't you?" Steele said, laughing. When O'Donnell said it was okay to say he didn't know what it was, Steele snapped and accused him of "trap playing." February 2009: You know what the GOP really needs? A hip-hop makeover! The RNC chairman told the Washington Times that he'll "surprise everyone" with an "off the hook" public relations campaign to update his party's image. "We want to convey that the modern-day GOP looks like the conservative party that stands on principles," he told the newspaper. "But we want to apply them to urban-suburban, hip-hop settings." When asked if the makeover Continue Reading

Former RNC chairman Michael Steele to join MSNBC; was reportedly considering posts at Fox, CNN

He's back! Former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele will officially join MSNBC as a contributor, the network announced Monday. "It's an honor to contribute and engage in the dialogue on MSNBC. ... I look forward to engaging a diverse audience to share insights and analysis about the people, issues and events shaping America's future," Steele said in a statement released by the network. "I'm sure our discussions will be both informative and a bit spirited!" Steele, the first African-American boss of the RNC, was ousted from the post in January after two years. His term was littered with embarrassing sound bites and lackluster fund-raising. While his term angered many Republicans, his legacy leaves many excited - At least for the entertainment value. "Michael Steele to MSNBC. This should be good," one user tweeted shortly after the announcement. "Betcha they'll be watching the expense account," another user added, referencing the embarrassing tales of Steele spending RNC money frivolously. Some of Steele's most embarrassing gaffes even came during earlier appearances on MSNBC. Last October he admitted to Lawrence O'Donnell that he had no idea what the minimum wage was. "You really like the minimum wage, don't you?" he joked after O'Donnell pressed him to name the number. At times, however, Steele could be an engaging speaker - and suggested to CNN in 2009 that his blunders weren't exactly complete mistakes. "I am very introspective about things," Steele said. "I don't do - I am a cause-and-effect kind of guy. So If I do something, there's a reason for it. Even, it may look like a mistake, a gaffe - there is a rationale, there's a logic behind it." Steele was also reportedly in talks with Fox and CNN before inking his contract with MSNBC. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Could Sarah Palin replace Michael Steele as Republican National Committee chairman? Not likely

As calls within the GOP to oust Michael Steele continue, a possible replacement is being floated among conservative circles. Sarah Palin. The former Alaskan governor's name has been brought up by pundits and conservative bloggers to take over as the chairman of the Republican National Committee. "This is a job for Sarah Palin," writes Kevin Williamson with the National Review. "Palin would be a much better RNC chairman than presidential candidate or freelance kingmaker." According to CBS News' Bill Plante, "Some members of the GOP base are calling for her" to take the job. "She brings the Tea Party wing and the Neocon wing together, as both adore her," writes The Reid Report's Joy Reid. "The RNC needs Sister Sarah, and not for nothing, but Sarah needs to prove she can hold onto a job that requires her to show up every day, rather than just have some aide issue manifestos on Facebook." But the reality is this kind of Palin speculation is just fantasy. "Being RNC chair would put Sarah a step behind in the footrace to beat Glenn Beck at the multimedia money-grubbing grifter game, and I have a feeling she would feel limited in a role as a boring party chairman," Reid writes. Steele was slammed last year for the thousands he earned for speaking engagements, and Palin earns big bucks making speeches and serving as a Fox News contributor, so she would probably not want the job. The former Alaskan governor also enjoys a sense of freedom in terms of what she can say, and would likely feel hamstrung as an official party leader. Besides, ousting Steele at this point is unlikely, according to The Associated Press. "Everyone is basically working around him," said former GOP Rep. Vin Weber of Minnesota. "Republicans have sort of put together a mode of operation for this election cycle that does not put the RNC chairman in a central role," he said. Plus, as they gear up for the November elections, getting down and dirty with an Continue Reading

Michael Steele’s decision to bypass Ed Cox in funneling cash is slap at state GOP leader

The national GOP is funneling cash for local elections directly to county leaders - a step never before taken in New York and a clear snub to embattled state Republican Party Chairman Ed Cox. The decision to bypass the state party is a direct slap at Cox. Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele doesn't trust Cox after his plan to run Democrat-turned-Republican Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy for governor blew up in his face, GOP sources said. "My understanding is they don't trust the state chair's judgment in handling this. Therefore, they've gone to people they think they can trust," one county leader said. The RNC will help six counties run "victory" committees for get-out-the-vote efforts and open regional offices throughout the state, GOP sources confirmed. The first three areas to receive RNC dollars will be Erie, Monroe and Dutchess counties, chosen in part because of their competitive state Senate races. National GOP leaders hope get-out-the-vote efforts for House races also will serve to help the Republicans regain control of the state Senate - and the next round of redistricting. Until last week, Cox was completely unaware of the RNC's plan to keep him out of the loop, which has been in the works for at least a month, a GOP source confirmed. Cox admitted being "surprised." He and Steele "spent a very warm six hours" together last week at a get-together organized by a GOP donor, making stops at the New York Stock Exchange and the Havana Club, he said. "[Steele] put his arm around me in a very warm way and told me now that the convention was over he was looking forward to us working together," Cox said. Cox insisted he's pleased the RNC is going to spend money in New York - even if he has no control over that cash. "They're acting on the plan that the executive director and others from our staff went down and presented to them ... and we are thrilled that we are going to actually [secure get-out-the-vote] funds, Continue Reading

Did RNC Chairman Michael Steele liken some GOPers to an elephant’s rear end?

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele embraced the Rev. Al Sharpton as a "strong leader" yesterday while comparing some in his own party to an elephant's rear end. Steele so far has weathered a recent controversy over RNC spending, including a $2,000 tab at a bondage-themed club in California, which upset fellow Republicans. But his speech to a midtown gathering of Sharpton's National Action Network could set off a new round of GOP head-scratching. Though Sharpton has long been vilified by Republicans, Steele hailed him as a "friend." "We have spent time at various events together and at all times, we have talked about how do we move forward," Steele said. Steele, the RNC's first African-American chairman, said he wanted to correct the party's past missteps with the black community. "I work every day in this job, as I like to put it, to turn the elephant," he said, referring to the party's iconic symbol. "Now, I don't know if you ever had to turn an elephant, but the end you have to start with is not necessarily the best place to start." Aides later stressed that Steele was not referring to anyone in particular and was only talking about his efforts to better position his party. He referred only indirectly to the Club Voyeur dust-up. "You can't please everyone," he said, "but you can certainly make them all mad at you at the same time. Apparently, I am pretty good at that."   Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

RNC’s Michael Steele looking to buy airtime to offset ABC News’ White House health-care specials

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele is looking to raise $100,000 to buy airtime to offset ABC News' upcoming health-care specials. "It seems that the mainstream media has finally decided to dispense with the pointless denials of favorable coverage of the Obama administration," Steele wrote in a memo e-mailed to Republicans Thursday. "Now one network, ABC News, has actually turned its entire programming over to President Obama and his big-government agenda." At issue is a planned day of coverage of the White House health-care program, set for June 24. The day will include an interview with President Obama and the First Lady on "Good Morning America," a "World News" telecast from inside the White House and a prime-time town hall-style discussion of health care with the President, moderated by Diane Sawyer and Charles Gibson, also at the White House. Soon after ABC News announced the town-hall special, RNC officials asked to be part of the panel posing questions, and, after being turned down, claimed it would be nothing more than a "glorified infomercial." ABC News responded that the network had full control over the content of the program, including the questions that will be asked of the President. Steele wrote that ABC would be "promoting Obamacare" throughout the day and urged supporters to donate money for airtime. "I think it's sad because we're trying to produce a fair and evenhanded debate about an important issue, and unfortunately some see that as a fund-raising opportunity," said an ABC News spokesman. "Our intentions have been very clear from the start, to have a room full of people with divergent views putting tough questions to the President. And it seems that no matter how many times we say that, some people just can't hear it." Ironically, what's lost in the dispute is that in April 2008, Gibson was embroiled in a controversy over what critics said was his overly tough questioning of a politician during a Continue Reading

GOP chairman Michael Steele, Republicans blast President Obama Nobel Peace Prize win

WASHINGTON - Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele is taking a more negative spin on President Obama’s Nobel Prize than Hamas. Says Steele: “The real question Americans are asking is, ‘What has President Obama actually accomplished?’ It is unfortunate that the President’s star power has outshined tireless advocates who have made real achievements working towards peace and human rights. One thing is certain - President Obama won’t be receiving any awards from Americans for job creation, fiscal responsibility, or backing up rhetoric with concrete action.” Reaction around the world appeared to be swift and largely supportive, considering the man hasn’t finished his first year in office yet. Hamas wasn’t particularly impressed, with Ismail Haniyeh, the prime minister of the Hamas government in Gaza, telling Reuters, “I think this prize won’t move us forward or backward.” Bloomberg quoted former Polish President and Nobel Peace Prize winner Lech Walesa saying it’s too soon to heap accolades on Obama: “He hasn’t made such a contribution,” Walesa said. “He’s proposing things, getting started, but he still has to do something.” The award appears to confirm an Obama campaign prediction: America’s international reputation would be instantly bolstered by his election. His presidential rival, Sen. John McCain, told CNN “I'm sure that the president is very honored to receive this award.”  “And [the] Nobel Committee, I can't divine all their intentions, but I think part of their decision-making was expectations.  And I'm sure the president understands that he now has even more to live up to,” McCain added.  “But as Americans, we're proud when our president receives an award of that prestigious category,” he said. Many Republicans, however, had a different take. "I'm not Continue Reading

GOP Chairman Michael Steele says in new book that Republicans have ‘screwed up’ since Reagan

WASHINGTON - GOP Chairman Michael Steele thinks Republicans have "screwed up" for the most part in the years since Ronald Reagan was president. And, he adds in an interview on the heels of his new book's release, Republicans won't win back the House in fall elections and might not be ready to lead even if they do. That forecast of failure sparked a pushback Tuesday at the GOP's own National Republican Congressional Committee, whose aim is to elect Republicans, and delight at its counterpart, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Winning back the House would be difficult for Republicans, who are in a 256-178 minority with one vacancy. Steele's book, "Right Now: A 12-Step Program for Defeating the Obama Agenda," released Monday by Regnery Publishing, offers his blueprint for the party's resurgence. Several of the steps he proposes play off sticking to GOP principles. Asked Monday by talk-show host Sean Hannity if Republicans can regain the House in November, Steele said, "Not this year." He added: "I don't know yet, because I don't know all the candidates yet. We still have some vacancies that need to get filled, but then the question we need to ask ourselves is, if we do that, are we ready?" In answer to his own question, Steele said: "I don't know. And that's what I'm assessing and evaluating right now. Those candidates who are looking to run have to be anchored in these principles ... because if they don't, then they'll get to Washington, and they'll start drinking that Potomac River water, and they'll get drunk with power and throw the steps out the window." NRCC spokesman Ken Spain said in response to Steele's comments that recapturing the majority remains a GOP goal. "Independent political analysts and even liberal columnists have stated that Republicans have a very real shot at taking back the majority in 2010," he said in a statement. "Make no mistake about it, we are playing to win." The DCCC pointed to Steele's comments as further Continue Reading