September 30th, 2009
11:20 AM ET
5 years ago

Steele calls Tom Friedman a 'nut job' over latest column

Steele appeared on CNN's American Morning Wednesday.
Steele appeared on CNN's American Morning Wednesday.

(CNN) – Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele Wednesday beat back suggestions from some political commentators - most recently from the New York Times' Tom Friedman - that conservative opposition to President Obama is creating a political climate that may foreshadow attempts of violence against the commander-in-chief.

"Where do these nut jobs come from? Come on, stop this," Steele told CNN's John Roberts on American Morning in direct response to a quote from Friedman's column Wednesday equating the current political environment to that which occurred ahead of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin's assassination in 1995.

"To make those equations, examples and put that out there that way, to me is just crazy and yeah, I'm sorry, but if you're going to approach this discussion, approach it from a rational position," Steele continued. "[They're] saying, because you disagree with the president on policy, that all of the sudden we're going to make this leap into, you know, assassinations and all this other stuff. I mean, at the height of all this stuff on Bush and people complaining and protesting, and jumping up and down, you didn't have this kind of conversation."

"There are passions that run deep and long on both sides of the aisle," Steele also said. "Don't necessarily jump to the conclusion that, because someone says something vitriolic or hot that's necessarily from the right or the left. It's reflecting deep-seeded frustrations people have."

Steele also criticized accusations that many of the president's critics are driven by race, rather than pure policy disagreements.

"I'm always very careful about going down that road, you know, so blindly and so quickly," said Steele, adding later, "I applaud the president on this front. He has been out there saying look, let's separate all of this into the appropriate pockets and not go down this road unnecessarily."

The Republican Party chairman was also quick to condemn a user posted poll on Facebook over the weekend asking if the president should be assassinated.

"How stupid is that? Why would you even put something like that on Facebook?" he said. "It takes us to a place where we don't need to be, quite frankly in the debate of any public policy issue."


Filed under: Michael Steele
soundoff (299 Responses)
  1. arapikos

    What's wrong with Steele's thinking??Surely, he can read and hear the expletives generated by the follower of their right-wingnuts espousals of crazyness. Better keep the top on "pandora's box" closed. Once we set our ship to sail a particular course, it take a lot of replanning to change the course–not to get lost like Columbus did in trying to sail to the other parts of the world. And, accidentially run up on the shores of our America.

    September 30, 2009 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  2. Fred the Moderate

    Michael called who a nut job? Michael Steele called someone a nut job? He can talk?????

    September 30, 2009 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  3. ER

    Coming from the leader of the largest group of nutjobs in this country it seems Steele doesn't own a mirror! The name Republican has become synonymous with terms like whacko and nutjob.

    September 30, 2009 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  4. lawrence trabulsi

    I disagree with you you Mr. Steele, very much so. Just as you cannot shout out "YOU LIE" to the sitting head of state in the halls of congress at an elected leader or "LYNCH HIM"" to a foaming at the mouth mob some years ago.,one cannot take his or hers emotions into the streets goaded on by merchants of hate and special interests

    September 30, 2009 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  5. John Eckert

    Say want you want, but that's exactly what the GOP is formenting. With yelling out in the Senate Chambers and Cheney mouthing off about security and inciting people at the so called "town meetings" is it obvious that the GOP has stooped to levels that make an honest person gag. I personally changed my affiliation from the GOP to the DEM because of their tactics.

    September 30, 2009 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  6. Mary Walker

    Good for Mr. Steele. He is a nut job. He is also an alarmist and completely over the top. If you disagree with Obama you want to assassinate him????? Pleeeeeeeese!

    September 30, 2009 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  7. Tom, NC

    I love Democrats. When Bush was president, there were plays in / off Broadway advocating his assassination...but the New York Times called it "artistic license". Now, any disagreement with the President is an invitation to violence. Go figure. Look, any threat against a president fits in the general category of 'nut job', as does seeing threats under every issue.

    September 30, 2009 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  8. AD

    Pot, meet kettle.

    September 30, 2009 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  9. Tony

    Michael Steele is shameless flunkie who only cares pleasing the Party on NO.

    September 30, 2009 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  10. hockey dad

    Steele,.. you are a disgrace to your race,... prostituting yourself as a messenger boy and lackey for the looney right. You're being used as the face of the Republican propaganda,.. a black face,. the cowards will use you as a scapegoat, Lord forbid anything sinister should befall the President,.. yours is the face behind it all. STUPID, IDIOTIC TOOL.

    September 30, 2009 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  11. Liberals are Hypocrites

    Friedman has ALWAYS been a nut job. So what else is new?

    September 30, 2009 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  12. Jerry

    Liberals always resort to name-calling when they cannot win sound with sound arguments.

    September 30, 2009 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  13. Brent

    If Mr. Steele is looking for nutjobs to quiet, perhaps he should look at his own mass communication mouthpiece, Fox "News". There are plenty of nutjobs there who should be shut up, as they are the ones inciting the unthinking masses to make these kinds of threats.

    Start in your own backyard Michael.

    September 30, 2009 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  14. Jim Q.

    Except Friedman is obviously right, and the Republicans are either not willing or not able to take responsibility on this point. Which will, in the end, destroy their party.

    September 30, 2009 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  15. Patrick

    Protesters against Bush did not brandish weapons and make specific threats of violence. And, attacking the media is the argument for when you have no argument. What is wrong with asking your followers to be civil?

    I guess that's too much to ask from the GOP

    September 30, 2009 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  16. S Callahan

    I agree with Steele on this.....

    except in this equation 2009 you have to remember that morale conscious is not the leading force...so without that..it's almost as if the gloves 'appear' to be off. Fourtunately, for our sakes we have a God who can reign in on this nonesense...and believe me when I say this...He is wide awake, well aware of the going ons right now.

    September 30, 2009 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  17. Hank

    "...at the height of all this stuff on Bush and people complaining and protesting, and jumping up and down, you didn't have this kind of conversation." ----- What this man apparently doesn't get is that frustration on the left and frustration on the right are apples and oranges. The right wing nuts are the gun-toting, blow-em-up and ask questions later crowd.

    September 30, 2009 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  18. John

    Either Steele is in denial or he really has no clue who the majority of the Republican party's constituency is made of. Also, hopefully the person(s) who created that poll on facebook are being held by the CIA right now.

    September 30, 2009 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  19. Lila

    "...at the height of all this stuff on Bush and people complaining and protesting, and jumping up and down, you didn't have this kind of conversation."

    Actually, Mr. Steele, we DID have this kind of conversation....the big difference here is that people got hauled off by the secret service for it.

    September 30, 2009 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  20. Jim, San Antonio

    Takes one to know one!

    September 30, 2009 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  21. T the B

    Talk about a nut job. There have already been threats made. What world does Michael Steele live in? Is it that foggy on the far right?

    September 30, 2009 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  22. Annette Crumbley

    Personally, I think Steele is the nut job. He is so erractic and most of his comments have no real substance. In fact he is quite predictable. He offers no real answers to any of Obama's policies. All the Republicans seem to do is complain about everything and offers nothing in response to all of the hard work President Obama is doing nationally and globally. What a jerk.

    September 30, 2009 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  23. TOMMY PERKINS

    I'd like to ask a question are all these republicans talking because they actually beleive the crap they are shoveling out. Or do they actually belive some it.

    September 30, 2009 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  24. Tim in Minnesota

    Who believes this guy anymore? And calling Friedman a "nut job?" A clear cut case of the pot calling the kettle black...

    September 30, 2009 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  25. Big-K

    Its funny, Steele only speaks up on the Repug talking points when he is hit with a factual point however, he gets wimpy when it comes to Limbaugh, Hannity, Beck and all the other real nut jobs the republicans keep embracing. Steele is a nobody Repug token with huge blinders on or is he just that ignorant.

    September 30, 2009 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
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