Racial comments lead to confrontation at CPAC

Former RNC chairman Michael Steele confronts CPAC Chairman Matt Schlapp over racial comments a speaker made about Steele at the conservative conference.

Posted: Feb 27, 2018 6:15 AM
Updated: Feb 27, 2018 6:15 AM

Michael Steele shot back Saturday at a Conservative Political Action Conference official for a racial comment he made about the former Republican National Committee chairman at a dinner Friday night.

At the Ronald Reagan dinner, CPAC communications director Ian Walters said Steele was elected RNC chair "because he's a black guy."

"We were somewhat lost as a group, we had just elected the first African-American president, and that was a big deal and that was a hill that we got over and it was something that we were all proud of and we weren't sure what to do, and in a little bit of cynicism what did we do? This is a terrible thing. We elected Mike Steele to be the RNC chair because he's a black guy, that was the wrong thing to do," Walters said.

Steele told MSNBC on Friday that Walters called him and tried to apologize, but he rejected the apology.

"He did call and he tried to explain himself and said what he was thinking, he relayed it back to Barack Obama's election, and then he said at one point, 'I apologize,' and I just said, you know, that's just not acceptable, that's not enough," Steele recalled.

Walters did not immediately return CNN's request for comment on Saturday.

According to the news outlet Observer, Steele called the remark "painfully stupid."

"I wanted to talk to [CPAC chair] Matt Schlapp first, but I think it's painfully stupid what he said," Steele told Observer. "If he feels that way I'd like him to come say that to my face. And then I'd like him to look at my record and see what I did. I can't believe an official of CPAC would go on stage, in front of an audience, and say something like that. I've been a strong supporter of CPAC for many years, and I thought they raised them better than that here."

Steele, who co-hosts the radio broadcast "Steele and Ungar," also discussed the comment on the show Saturday morning.

"I asked a quick question in a session about my own story and journey as a young 17-year-old growing up in Washington, D.C., and what drew me to the Republican Party," Steele said. "The question I have today is, what would a 17-year-old African-American male or female think about the Republican Party in joining it in 2018?"

Steele, who was elected the first African-American to serve as the head of the RNC in 2009, continued: "It does reflect a certain attitude that folks inside the party are seemingly more comfortable with right now."

"It also goes to insulting not just me -- I mean, I can deal with that, I'm a big boy, put my pants on and go into the fight -- but it goes after everyone in the RNC who knew me and worked with me and supported the effort that I undertook to become chairman," he added. "But even more broadly, it insults every African-American and calls into question their personal accomplishments."

The Friday night dinner was part of CPAC, an annual political conference attended by conservative activists and politicians taking place this week outside of Washington at the National Harbor in Maryland.

Terre Haute
Partly Cloudy
69° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 69°
Robinson
Partly Cloudy
68° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 68°
Indianapolis
Partly Cloudy
67° wxIcon
Hi: 68° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 67°
Rockville
Partly Cloudy
68° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 68°
Casey
Partly Cloudy
66° wxIcon
Hi: 68° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 66°
Brazil
Partly Cloudy
69° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 69°
Marshall
Partly Cloudy
69° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 69°
Sunny and warmer!
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

WTHI Events

 

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Cases: 1361569

Reported Deaths: 24671
CountyCasesDeaths
Cook54504110100
DuPage905031279
Will75456990
Lake67145988
Kane58349771
Winnebago33178474
Madison30500519
McHenry28573285
St. Clair27847513
Peoria23094310
Champaign20618145
Sangamon18724234
McLean18138179
Tazewell16938287
Rock Island14970314
Kankakee14176210
Kendall1303893
LaSalle12536243
Macon10750199
DeKalb9856119
Vermilion9628132
Adams8452123
Williamson7428129
Whiteside7160171
Boone669972
Ogle611181
Grundy588775
Clinton575790
Coles568695
Knox5553145
Jackson502464
Henry497066
Livingston481785
Stephenson475381
Woodford473976
Effingham472972
Macoupin469782
Marion4472115
Franklin444874
Monroe435793
Jefferson4291120
Lee416552
Randolph412984
Fulton391955
Morgan388981
Logan386958
Montgomery371974
Bureau371682
Christian365973
Fayette317455
Perry316960
Iroquois301866
McDonough284847
Jersey268949
Douglas258835
Saline256454
Lawrence240525
Shelby229537
Union226040
Crawford211626
Bond204824
Cass199125
Jo Daviess181024
Clark179933
Warren179746
Pike178852
Ford178246
Wayne177553
Hancock175931
Carroll175136
Richland175140
Edgar170239
White169626
Washington164525
Moultrie161028
De Witt150824
Mason150745
Piatt149714
Clay148143
Mercer146933
Johnson143915
Greene143633
Wabash134612
Massac133940
Cumberland129019
Menard123412
Jasper115018
Marshall106918
Hamilton83315
Schuyler7536
Brown7046
Pulaski6887
Stark63723
Edwards56912
Henderson52514
Calhoun5182
Putnam4823
Scott4781
Alexander46811
Gallatin4584
Hardin38612
Pope3204
Out of IL20
Unassigned02351

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Cases: 732692

Reported Deaths: 13450
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1002531746
Lake53931975
Allen40779678
St. Joseph35838552
Hamilton35695408
Elkhart28695442
Tippecanoe22419219
Vanderburgh22332397
Porter18838309
Johnson18007379
Hendricks17269315
Clark13007191
Madison12708339
Vigo12470248
LaPorte11970212
Monroe11914170
Delaware10720186
Howard9946216
Kosciusko9438117
Hancock8310141
Bartholomew8078156
Warrick7789155
Floyd7672178
Grant7072174
Wayne7061199
Boone6712101
Morgan6593139
Dubois6162117
Marshall6073111
Cass5826105
Dearborn581878
Henry5758103
Noble562784
Jackson502773
Shelby493196
Lawrence4563120
Harrison436372
Gibson436092
DeKalb429285
Clinton427953
Montgomery425089
Whitley397139
Huntington392980
Steuben389457
Miami382267
Knox372690
Jasper368248
Putnam361660
Wabash354580
Adams341954
Ripley340170
Jefferson331281
White314854
Daviess298199
Wells291881
Decatur285492
Fayette281262
Greene279785
Posey271933
LaGrange267870
Scott266954
Clay260547
Washington241632
Randolph241181
Spencer232431
Jennings230449
Starke217154
Fountain213046
Sullivan212042
Owen201956
Jay196330
Fulton195540
Carroll189420
Orange184154
Perry183537
Rush173725
Vermillion169643
Franklin168435
Tipton163045
Parke146416
Blackford135132
Pike134934
Pulaski116945
Newton108134
Brown102441
Crawford100615
Benton98914
Martin89015
Warren82215
Switzerland7938
Union71010
Ohio57111
Unassigned0417