Nonprofit, nonpartisan journalism. Supported by readers.


Why ex-GOP chair Michael Steele stays in the Republican Party

Two weeks ago, I happened to cover former Republican National Chair Michael Steele speaking to a Minneapolis audience about how we got Donald Trump as president (the short summary of his answer: because we elected him, although some of Steele’s remarks made clear that he was not happy about it).

So as a follow up, I just wanted to pass along, because they are the most hilarious statement of Republican never-Trumpism I’ve ever seen, some more recent remarks from Steele in which he seemed to make clear that he was remaining in the Republican Party expressly to work toward exorcising the Trump demon that has invaded it.

Jonathan Capehart of the Washington Post asked Steele “why he remains in the Republican Party when so many others have left in disgust.”

Steele said (among other things):

You invite me over to a nice dinner and I come to your home. And during the course of that evening, I start breaking your china. I start slicing your drapes, tearing up your carpet, putting holes in your walls. So at that point, do you leave or do you kick my ass out? You’re going to kick me out. That’s where I am. I’m not leaving. This is my house,” Steele said after noting that Trump is neither a Republican nor a conservative. “I know I gotta repair the drapes and patch up the holes in the walls and replace the carpet. But your ass will be gone and that’s the goal.


Comments (17)

  1. Submitted by Marc Post on 11/14/2018 - 02:53 pm.

    Looks like some bad hombres have crossed the border and taken over Mr. Steele’s house.

    Mr. Steele needs to face reality. It’s not longer his house.

  2. Submitted by Frank Phelan on 11/14/2018 - 03:12 pm.

    It is clear that for Mr. Steele, racism is not a deal breaker. It is for me. It should be for everyone.

    But for nearly every officeholder from Mr. Steele’s party, Don Trump’s racism is acceptable, at least as long as the corporate friendly judges and tax give aways for the wealthiest among us. Witness the recent crowing, here on MinnPost and elsewhere, that even with the House in Democratic hands, the judicial appointments will keep coming. The same is true for large parts of the GOP voter base. Those politicians and voters may not be racist. But it is clear that they are comfortable with Don Trump’s abhorrent racist talk and actions.

    If Mr. Steele really wants his party back, he needs to tell it they can expect no more money, no more votes, no more support until it forcefully and clearly repudiates racism, and he should urge all other GOP supporters to say the same thing. Personally, I have no interest in an organization that abets a leader who regularly engages in race baiting and fear mongering.

    The house is completely ablaze, Mr. Steele. Time to get out. America needs a conservative party that has no room for racism.

    • Submitted by Gary Fredrickson on 11/14/2018 - 10:45 pm.

      Mr. Phelan accuses our president of racism. I have never heard one thing he has said to indicate he is racist. Maybe Mr. Phelan could give us an actual quote or something and not just something just said on CNN or MSNBC or written in the local DFL newspaper.
      It is common for democrats to call every republican president racist, stupid, bigoted etc. Remember Ronald Reagan anyone?
      He also talks about tax give away’s for the wealthy. I don’t know about you but I got a tax cut and I’m not wealthy. So far it appears that the tax cuts [along with repealing regulations and mandates] have done wonders for the economy which has helped the lower income people get jobs or get raises. Many people got bonuses when the evil corporation they worked for got a tax cut. Some people [mainly democrats] seem to worry more about how much the wealthy make than to care about how well the lower income people are doing. They know so little about economics that they think ,”if the wealthy have more, the poor must have less.” The poor and lower income are doing better since the evil Donald Trump has become president.
      The republican party has changed for the better but not nearly enough. Hopefully the cesspool in Washington can be cleaned out more but I am not very hopeful. There is just too much slime on both sides of the aisle, too many uninformed voters, too many people that don’t understand economics.

      • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 11/15/2018 - 09:23 am.

        “I have never heard one thing he has said to indicate he is racist.”

        Trump on commenting about white supremacists marching in Charlottesville:

        “There were fine people on both sides”

      • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 11/15/2018 - 10:06 am.

        Trump has acknowledged that he “probably” said this:

        “Black guys counting my money! I hate it. The only kind of people I want counting my money are short guys that wear yarmulkes every day. … I think that the guy is lazy. And it’s probably not his fault, because laziness is a trait in blacks. It really is, I believe that. It’s not anything they can control.”

  3. Submitted by Tom Christensen on 11/14/2018 - 03:38 pm.

    Michael Steele’s statement that Trump is not a Republican nor a conservative doesn’t make any sense. Trump is the ultimate conservative, the highest elected official in the Republican Party, the party leader. You needed to figure out that Trump was a majorly flawed human before you voted. After you voted and elected Trump, you can’t claim he is not a Republican nor a conservative because he now represents you. Like it or not, Republicans own TRUMP. It’s not rocket science. Think ahead next time. Now get to the work of making the Republican Party viable again.

  4. Submitted by RB Holbrook on 11/14/2018 - 04:40 pm.

    At a certain point, you have to conclude that the ill-mannered thugs aren’t going anywhere. You can protest all you like, but they’ve taken it over and you might as well face the fact that it’s their house now.

    You might also reflect that this didn’t happen overnight and you knew who they were when you invited them over.

  5. Submitted by Charles Holtman on 11/14/2018 - 07:03 pm.

    Whether Mr. Steele intends it or not, he is simply advancing an obvious Republican party strategy, one that the mainstream media, pundits like Mr. Black, and Democrats generally abet every time they use the term “Trumpism.”

    This strategy casts Trump as an aberration. When there is nothing left but to jettison him, the party can stand cleansed of its idiosyncratic trespasser, and ready to accept the gratitude of the media and Democratic establishment for having the “adults” back in charge. But the malignancy will remain.

    The Republican party to which Mr. Steele refers has not existed in my lifetime. Since the Southern Strategy, the primary electoral project of that party has been to appeal to those who, by virtue of their existential fear and economic uncertainty, are susceptible to authoritarianism. The Republican establishment may not have selected Trump as its leader, but Trump is the leader par excellence for the base that the Republican party – including Mr. Steele – consciously cultivated. And the base is the party, as the past two years have shown: the Republican establishment could at any time have substantially thwarted Trump, but out of craven fear of its base, has not undertaken the slightest attempt to do so. When Trump is gone, the base will remain, ready to give their fealty to the next charismatic leader who gives them license to hate the false enemy while he picks their pockets.

    A party that is irrevocably authoritarian – in its goals, its methods, and the civic orientation of its followers – is not a legitimate political formation in a society that aspires to democracy. Mr. Steele’s house has burned down, and the match was lit long ago. If he were to accept his responsibility for the damage and draw up some plans, in good faith, for another house, I might even show up with a hammer to help.

  6. Submitted by John Evans on 11/14/2018 - 09:18 pm.

    Yet Steele places no blame at all on the actual party leadership, which fully embraces Trump. No, the fact is that Trump is not some barbarian who invaded the GOP, he’s the logical expression of it. That’s what the Republican Party is now, Steele can’t really repudiate Trump without acknowledging his own role in its evolution.

  7. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 11/14/2018 - 09:48 pm.

    Was it ever your house Mr. Steele ?

    Given charge of the GOP during the meltdown of the century when the clear loser flavor was vanilla, but as endangered as the black RINO.

    Give enough time to forget the whuppin’ caused by the last good ol’ boy misdeeds, and look what has been re-discovered by the GOP–racism, sexism, nationalism, cronyism, incompetence, ignorance and fiscal mismanagement. And your fellow “housemates” can’t bow low enough to the new pResident.

    Is it really your house ?

  8. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 11/15/2018 - 08:05 am.

    I’m inclined toward Frank Phelan on this one. Mr. Steele can continue to insist that “…it’s my house…” but what that brings to mind (my mind, at least), is an editorial cartoon, perhaps drawn by a recuperated Steve Sack, showing Steele standing in the middle of a smouldering wreck, surrounded by debris, with 3 or 4 vertical 2×4 studs still standing in the background, but everything else around him looking exactly like recent photos of former homes in Paradise, CA and similar CA communities. It may be his house emotionally, but in the real world, Mr. Steele’s house has been totally destroyed by the Arsonist in Chief.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 11/15/2018 - 09:23 am.

      And Mr. Steele invited him in, handed over a box of matches, and told him where he could find a can of gasoline. What did he expect?

  9. Submitted by Edward Blaise on 11/15/2018 - 09:27 am.

    Sorry Michael, always enjoy your commentary on cable; but, you were thrown out of your house when Reince Priebus evicted you after one term as chair…

  10. Submitted by Dennis Litfin on 11/15/2018 - 03:01 pm.

    Steele is one of the ‘good’ republicans who are left to try and pick up the pieces of a shattered gop. I feel that few republican politicians have anything to offer to the citizenry of this Country; but with that said, M. Steele is one of the few who are left who cold to it. No, I’m not a republican, but Steele, in my estimation, is one to whom the gop masses should listen to.

  11. Submitted by Dennis Litfin on 11/15/2018 - 03:02 pm.

    Sorry, “could do it”

  12. Submitted by Joel Stegner on 11/15/2018 - 06:14 pm.

    Fact is, Republicans need to repudiate Trump for his thinking to go away. Democrats cannot to it alone. Trump’s thinking is not long the liberal conservative continuum. It is on selfish vs, altruistic dimension. Essentially with him at the center of the universe with only those very close to him not subject to hostility and abuse. He has the personality of a dictator, not a small d democratic leader. Misunderstanding what he is acts as a barrier to pest control.

  13. Submitted by Mary Brown's on 01/31/2020 - 08:38 am.

    I am very disappointed in Mr steel I use to enjoyed hearing him speak. He looks like a partisan hack. The Republican Party and Donald Trump are not racist. I don’t know why he thinks that way I know there’s things that was said but they were always taken out of context.. Mr Steel Has never had a conversation with the president and has no basis for his opinion. I am a black Americans and I’ve got more money in my 401(k) and I got a raise at work things are going good in my world I don’t know what world Mr. steals in

Leave a Reply