July 8th, 2010
08:12 PM ET
8 years ago

Issa: Steele is 'not my leader'

Rep. Darrell Issa said Thursday that RNC Chairman Michael Steele 'is not my leader.'

Rep. Darrell Issa said Thursday that RNC Chairman Michael Steele 'is not my leader.'

Washington (CNN) - Rep. Darrell Issa has a message for Michael Steele: Represent the consensus view of the Republican Party, or resign as chairman of the Republican National Committee.

"Michael Steele is supposed to reflect a consensus of Republican platform and policies," the Republican said during a taping of C-SPAN's 'Newsmakers' program. "If he does that, he certainly could remain. If he's not willing to do that, if he wants to be a political leader on his own, there are plenty of seats open in November. I suggest he run for one of them."

Steele has been under fire for suggesting that the war in Afghanistan is one "of Obama's choosing" and that the conflict might be unwinnable.

Steele has since clarified his statements.

But one week after Steele's initial comments, Issa sounds unconvinced.

"I feel very strongly that he is not my leader, he does not make policy for me," Issa said Thursday.

"I think he has to make a decision, and everybody at the RNC has to make a decision. Are they going to speak on behalf of the consensus of Republicans, what we've already established as policy? If so, that is great, he can do the job. If he is not willing to do it, then I think he should resign. He has to decide which he is going to be."

Earlier on Thursday, Steele made clear he has no intention of resigning.

"Every time something happens, people say 'he should step down,' Steele told a gathering of GOP supporters Greenfield Village, Colorado." The reality is that's not happening, so stop the noise on that. You don't need the distraction. We're focused on winning."

Issa is not the first Republican to speak out. William Kristol, the editor of the conservative Weekly Standard, has called for Steele's
resignation. A string of other Republicans - including Arizona Sen. John McCain - have also questioned Steele's ability to lead the party in the wake of the remarks.

But digging in his heels, Steele told a Colorado crowd Thursday he is no stranger to the rough-and-tumble of party politics.

"The reality of it is simply this. I've learned politics through some pretty hard knocks," he said.

He added that it "hasn't been easy being a Republican in D.C., hasn't been easy being a Republican in Maryland."

When it comes to the war in Afghanistan, Steele said he is "four square, one thousand percent with our troops on the ground."

"My goodness, do not leave these young men and women without the resources they need," he added. "This war on terrorism was brought to our shores and we must fight it. We will fight it and we will win it. Because that is what the resolve of the American people is on this."

- CNN's Alexander Mooney contributed to this report

Filed under: Darrell Issa • Michael Steele • RNC
soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. Ruth

    Leave Steele where he is. Steele, Rush, Beck and Hannity are great for the republican party. They are helping the democrats. Hurrah!!!!!

    July 8, 2010 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  2. Donnatella

    Why Steele wants to be part of this organization is anybody's guess, maybe now he realizes that he was picked for his looks not for his opinion. He is stepping away from the usual warmongering that goes on in the repubican party, he also threw the troops under the bus. He is not fit to be the leader of anything.

    July 8, 2010 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  3. George of the jungle

    Steele is an idiot used by the repo party to show how diverse they are. Big joke.

    July 8, 2010 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  4. Anonymous

    I guess by "concensus" you mean passing a "purity" test (aka 1930's Germany), where no dissent is allowed and you either adhere or are tossed out? If so say goodbye to the people that will keep you relevant (Republicans that have brains and use them) and in the political world. If not, say hello to oblivion as the fanatical rantings and "Taliban" mentality will be your demise

    July 8, 2010 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  5. A keen observer

    Steele is an idiot. The republicans are getting their just rewards for picking him as RNC chairman.

    July 8, 2010 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  6. panterazero

    if this is the beginning of Issa's jockeying to take Steele's place, the GOP is about to get even more wingnutty than it already is. I shudder to think that Issa is within shouting distance of "the consensus view of the Republican Party."

    July 8, 2010 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  7. George

    The only person who could represent a clear concensus of the Republican Party committed suicide in Berlin in 1945

    July 8, 2010 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  8. Dennis

    Loves the divisiveness of this party...Keep it up.

    July 8, 2010 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  9. nosloc

    CNN, cut the crap. Most of us really don't care excaept you and a small percentage of viewers. No news..more to report. A waste of time. Not even journalism. Narcissism (sp) is not interesting except to the misguided and superfisiciual (sp). I am considering a different news sourse.

    July 8, 2010 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  10. Rich

    Steele has no idea what he is getting into here.

    July 8, 2010 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  11. Senator

    reading these post really makes me wonder, sometimes: "Not my leader' its so funny how the Affirmative Action Chairman is turning out for a Party that doesnt believe in Affirmative Action, and now they cant fire this guy, this is just laughable. I read comment after comment about the President not working hard enough, and that he doesnt know anything, which is not suprising, as tome folk have accused Black americans of being dumb and lazy since slavery. If Steele isnt your leader, why in the world was Bush?????

    July 8, 2010 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  12. Pragmatic

    it "hasn't been easy being a Republican in D.C., hasn't been easy being a Republican in Maryland."

    .... serving whine with the cheesy comments?

    You can not say "this was a war of Obama's choosing, This was not something that the United States had actively prosecuted or wanted to engage in" .... when the facts of history are that the U.S. and allies invaded Afghanistan under President George W. Bush in October of 2001, just weeks after 9/11.

    Don't pee on my shoes and then tell me its raining!

    July 8, 2010 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  13. billybob 'n NC

    How can he forget the "consensus of the GOBP-Wall-Street-Fox." In case anyone has forgotten, it is "NO."

    July 8, 2010 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  14. ConstitutionalPatriot

    Steele should stand by his comments instead of cowering to the neocons. Neoconservatism must die and if Steele chooses to be a man and recognize that he will be remembered as a leader if not he will go down with the warmongers!

    July 8, 2010 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  15. todd

    issa is a phony , fraud and a fake. He is a RINO.

    July 8, 2010 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  16. Victim of GOP Taliban

    Issa is a clown. I am embarassed this jerk represents my state. Steele is just a scapegoat for the failure of the Republican party to get its act together. He was appointed the token black man to give the GOP a fresh new albeit phony look of diversity. Then he gets blamed for the failure of jerks like Issa to do anything productive with their taxpayer-funded salary.

    July 8, 2010 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  17. get real

    The GOP refused to learn from their Alan Keyes fiasco. Folks, you can't just pick any black guy just because the other side has chosen a black guy. We, the democrats, have an intelligent, hard working, and most importantly, sane leader. You folks keep picking the only black guys who will associate with your party...and they happen to all be CRAZY! Please give up trying to appear to be a big tent, diverse party. You're not. Live with it.

    July 8, 2010 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  18. Bob of Lompoc

    This genius Issa is the person who lead the charge to unseat former CA Democratic Governor Gray Davis and then helped put into office Republican Governor Arnold S., who turned out to be much more liberal than Davis. Thanks Issa. I wouldn't pay too much attention to this guy Issa. But then, I wouldn't pay too much attention to Steele either. Sort of a pattern here. Don't pay too m uch attention to Republicans.

    July 8, 2010 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  19. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    i love the infighting. keep it up gobp.

    July 8, 2010 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  20. Rob Johnson

    I say put Issa and Steele in the Thunderdome and let them sort it out.


    That sort of "frontier justice" should appeal to the red-meat conservative crowd, don't you think?

    You betcha!

    July 8, 2010 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
  21. Darth Vadik, CA

    Issa is a piece of (garbage) work. This man should be run thru the streets of San Diego and flogged by every Californian.

    He is responsible for the recall of Gray Davis here, but before you say anything, he didn't do it for the noble reason of improving California, he did it because he thought that he was going to be the next governor of California. Until Schwarzenegger decided that it would be "koool" to be a governor.

    And Republicans YET AGAIN take a bad thing and completely destroy it, of course the Republicans dont even accept Schwarzenegger as a Republican any more, suits you right for going with the Devil Arnold.

    And to the rest of you freaks (Republicans), next time you have a thought, just let it go...

    July 9, 2010 12:18 am at 12:18 am |
  22. Robert Warner

    No, Issa, he is your leader. Your party voted for him and will be judged by his actions. Welcome to Democracy.

    July 9, 2010 04:54 am at 4:54 am |