Michael Steele

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A CPAC official said Michael Steele was hired to lead the RNC because he’s Black

Michael Steele was actually in attendance.


Tess Cagle


Published Feb 24, 2018   Updated May 21, 2021, 11:44 pm CDT

Former Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele had a few words on Friday for Conservative Political Action Conference communications director Ian Walters, who said that the RNC only picked Steele to lead the party because “he was a Black guy.”

“I wanted to talk to [CPAC chair] Matt Schlapp first, but I think it’s painfully stupid what he said,” Steele told the 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.”

Walters made the comments at CPAC’s Ronald Reagan dinner held on Friday.

“We elected Mike Steele as chairman because he was a Black guy; that was the wrong thing to do,” Walters said.

“My skin color has nothing to do with that even if he thinks it does,” Steele said.

People on Twitter found Walters’ comments offensive, and many have called for his resignation.

Walters tweeted later in the evening that he apologized to Steele.

Steele, however, was not moved by Walters’ apology.

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*First Published: Feb 24, 2018, 11:12 am CST