The lineup for CPAC this year looked tailor-made for the alt-right, with guests like Nigel Farage, Marion Le Pen, Sean Hannity, Judge Jeanine Pirro, and Donald Trump.
I shudder to think of what conspiracy theories were dreamed up in that place and will be hitting social media next week.
Given the crowd being catered to, I doubt anything could (or should) surprise anyone.
On Friday, CPAC’s communications director, Ian Walters gave a speech at the Ronald Reagan dinner. Part of that speech, apparently, addressed former RNC chairman Michael Steele, and what Walters felt was the thinking behind selecting him.
In a speech at CPAC’s Ronald Reagan dinner on Friday, Walters reportedly criticized Republican thinking surrounding the decision to pick Steele to lead the RNC.
“We elected Mike Steele as chairman because he was a black guy, that was the wrong thing to do,” Walters said in a comment reportedly met with gasps.
Steele, of course, was rightly outraged.
“I wanted to talk to [CPAC chair] Matt Schlapp first, but I think it’s painfully stupid what he said,” Steele told the Observer when asked about a remark CPAC communications director Ian Walters made at a dinner during the conference.
“If he feels that way I’d like him to come say that to my face,” Steele added. “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 onstage 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.”
Well, it’s a different CPAC, now. And no, the man has not been willing to back up his statement off-stage, so he’s likely not the kind who would say it to your face.
Steele wasn’t just “the black Republican.”
A lawyer, former Lt. governor of Maryland (2003-2007), co-founder of the Republican Leadership Council, chairman of GOPAC (2007-2009), which trained and supported Republican candidates for local and state elections, and was a delegate to the RNC convention in 2000.
Was he a great chairman for the Republican party?
Not really. He was pretty awful, but to be honest, not much worse than the man who followed him, Reince Priebus.
However, he was more than just “the black guy.” What Walters said was ignorant.
“My skin color has nothing to do with that even if he thinks it does,” Steele said.
It was unnecessary rhetoric being spewed by this “new age” of the Republican party and those who see CPAC as representative of Republicans.
It will come back on them.