Washington (CNN) - Several GOP congressional sources on Wednesday's daily morning conference call among Republican communications aides on Capitol Hill and the RNC described it as a session where congressional GOP aides unloaded their frustration over their perception that Michael Steele is using his book tour to undermine the party's political message.
"It was ugly, but something that needed to be done," says one of the GOP congressional sources who took RNC aides to task on the call.
Several GOP sources on the conference call tell CNN they told RNC aides that they believe this has been a good political week for Republicans, but that several comments Steele has made during his book tour are "putting all of efforts and all of our bosses in very difficult positions and doing so unnecessarily," according to one of the GOP aides.
Specifically, congressional Republican sources tell CNN they were outraged that Steele went on Fox Monday and said that Republicans can't win back the majority in 2010. These sources tell CNN there was widespread anger that the statement would undermine GOP efforts at fundraising and recruiting.
Many GOP congressional sources and party strategists are also enraged that part of the chairman's book - and tour to promote it - goes through Republican mistakes in past elections. These sources say conceding Republicans lost their way was last year's message, and that the party chairman in 2010 should be looking forward, not backwards.
"He's on a GOP apology tour," said one of the GOP congressional aides who expressed his frustration on Thursday's call.
Steele himself - who canceled a last-minute interview with ABC for what the network said was described to them as an "emergency meeting" at RNC headquarters - dismissed that criticism Friday.
"Let's just say I've been in a little bit of trouble, but I don't care because I didn't write this for them," he told CBN's David Brody. "...[S]taffers who are trying to get the chairman on message or muzzle the chairman - it's a book they don't want you to read. They don't want you to read this book, because a guilty conscience is a funny thing."
The RNC officially has no comment on the call, but an RNC aide who was not authorized to speak on the record said: "He is the RNC chairman, but it's his book, it's his voice."
Some of Steele's defenders say he is simply speaking the truth – the Republican brand is not yet rehabilitated – and that the content of his book and book tour is appropriate.
Former House GOP speaker Newt Gingrich, who wrote a foreword in Steele's book, released a statement Friday defending and promoting it
"This country is an overwhelmingly center-right nation. As Chairman Steele urges, Republicans just need the courage and clarity to communicate our shared values effectively," said Gingrich.
But several GOP strategists said there is broad concern about a Republican party chairman writing and promoting a book, that he will profit from, at a time where he should be focused entirely on building back the party.
"This isn't about him and he needs to take a more back scenes role and spend the time nescessary to help our candidates win not to try to sell a book or make himself famous," said John Feehery, a GOP strategist and former top congressional aide.
Multiple Republican sources confirm to CNN a big concern is that donors are not willing to give to the RNC because they don't trust Steele's leadership, and even worse, according to sources, they're not even being asked.
One former senior Republican party official in close contact with GOP donors tells CNN that the continued controversy surrounding Steele is affecting the party's fundraising fortunes.
"First, major donors are not being asked to give, and second, they're not confident the money will be spent well," said the former official, "and it's because of him [Steele]."