Former RNC Chairman Michael Steele teed off on his own party on Saturday, saying Republicans have “a racism problem” that needs to be addressed immediately.
In an interview with MSNBC’s Joy Reid, Steele said it’s time for the Republican Party to “be honest about” the bigotry that has infected the party in the Trump era.
— Sean Colarossi (@SeanColarossi) February 24, 2018
When Reid asked whether the GOP has a “racism problem,” Steele responded:
Yes, they do. I think we need to be honest and acknowledge it. I think the fact that people sit here now and say, well, this has nothing to do with race. Yeah, it does, when you stand on a podium and blatantly speak to race the way Ian did. That’s fine. Let’s acknowledge that. … We want the party leadership to stand up in the face of behavior and words and actions that indicate to the American people that we support the kind of ugly racist comments that we have heard in the past by many that are not true, starting with things like s-hole and from there. There is a whole lot on the table we have to deal with and be honest about. Don’t be afraid of it. Walk into it and tell us how you are going to lead on it.
The former RNC chairman’s comments come after CPAC Communications Director Ian Walters said the only reason Steele was elected to his position in 2009 was “because he was a black guy.”
“The was the wrong thing to do,” Walters added.
As Jason Easley noted in a piece earlier, Walters tried to clean up his mess by blaming former President Barack Obama. Unfortunately, blaming the first African American president likely won’t get you far in an argument to explain why you aren’t a bigot.
The fact that a racist like Trump is the leader of the Republican Party is proof that bigotry is no longer some small faction of the GOP. It’s integral to the party platform and strategy. Since Obama was elected, Republican leaders have played on minority resentment to rile up their base and win votes. That culminated with the election of Trump.
If the GOP wants to have a shot at being a competitive political party in an increasingly diverse country, they should listen to voices like Michael Steele, acknowledge they have a racism problem and fix it before it’s too late.
Sean Colarossi currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and was an organizing fellow for both of President Obama’s presidential campaigns. He also worked with Planned Parenthood as an Affordable Care Act Outreach Organizer in 2014, helping northeast Ohio residents obtain health insurance coverage.