RNC chairman Michael Steele has been on the hot seat ever since it was discovered a week ago that nearly $2,000 was spent at an event for young Republicans at a bondage-themed Hollywood nightclub, which was only the most embarrassing expenditure in what some consider a pattern of lavish spending. After the news broke, Steele received withering criticism from donors and prominent members of his party not something he needed after a National Journal poll of Republican members of Congress and political operatives showed that 70 percent already considered him a liability to the GOP. Things still hadn’t gotten much better by the end of the week. On Fox News Sunday yesterday, the Senate’s No. 2 Republican, Arizona’s John Kyl, declined to say whether Steele should remain in his post. But this morning, in an interview with Good Morning America, Steele probably blew a chance to cool things down.
When George Stephanopoulos asked Steele, “Do you feel, as an African-American, you have a slimmer margin for error than another chairman would?” Steele responded, “The honest answer is yes. It just is.” You may recall that in February, Steele said something similar to Washingtonian: “I don’t see stories about the internal operations of the DNC that I see about this operation. Why? Is it because Michael Steele is the chairman, or is it because a black man is chairman?” Whether or not you think criticism of Steele has been warranted, there’s no doubt that blaming his troubles on racial prejudice will not go over well with Republicans. In fact, at one time, it wouldn’t even have gone over well with Michael Steele, who has repeatedly slammed the use of the “race card.”
Michael Steele Says He and Obama Have Slimmer Margins of Error Because They Are African-American [Good Morning America/ABC News]