Republican MSNBC political analyst Michael Steele confronted the head of the American Conservative Union over controversial comments made at CPAC yesterday suggesting Steele had previously been chosen the Republican National Committee chairman because “he was a black guy.”
“I’ve taken crap you have no idea about,” Steele said to ACU chairman Matt Schlapp on Steele’s SiriusXM radio show today. (Watch the segment below).
Schlapp, himself a familiar MSNBC pundit, attempted the sort of peace-brokering after Ian Walters, communications director for the Conservative Political Action Conference, last night attributed Steele’s selection as RNC chairman in 2009 as a response to the election of Barack Obama.
“We elected Mike Steele as chairman because he was a black guy,” Walters said at a CPAC dinner Friday night. “That was the wrong thing to do.”
Schlapp attempted to smooth things over but only seemed to dig himself and his organization deeper into the muck. He called Walters’ comment “unfortunate words,” and repeatedly professed his love and friendship for both Steele and Walters.
“It’s not ‘unfortunate,’ ” said Steele. “Call it what it is. It is stupid to sit there and say that we elected a black man chairman of the party…Do you know how that sounds to the black community?”
“I’ve spent 41 years in this party. Forty-one, all right?” Steele continued. “I have taken crap you have no idea about, and I have carried this baggage. And for him to stand on that stage and denigrate my service to this party, and for you as a friend to sit there and go, ‘Well, you have been critical of this party.’ There is only one word I can say, and I can’t say it on this air.”
Schlapp suggested that Steele was unpopular among some conservatives because of his lack of support for Donald Trump. “You have not been very graceful to the Republicans and conservatives in this room for a very long time,” Schlapp said, prompting Steele to snap,”What the hell does my race have to do with any of that, at the end of the day? What does the color of my skin have to do with anything you just said?”
Schlapp, conceding that Walters’ comment was “not our best moment,” advised Steele not to “jump to the conclusion that just because people use inarticulate words that they have it in for you.”
“I didn’t say he had it in for me,” Steele said. “It’s just stupid.”
Watch the entire conversation here: