April 5th, 2010
09:11 PM ET
13 years ago

Wilder tells Steele: 'Do the job'

Washington (CNN) - The first African-American to be elected governor said Monday the Republican Party's first African-American chairman should stop complaining and "Do the job."

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, whose stewardship of the GOP has come under fire in recent weeks, told ABC's "Good Morning America" on Monday that he is being held to a higher standard because he's black. But former Virginia Gov. L. Douglas Wilder told CNN's John King that Steele "should have never responded that way."

"He has broken the barriers. He's gotten the job," said Wilder, who won Virginia's governorship in 1989. "Do the job."

Wilder added, "I have never used race as a badge nor a barrier. And I would hope that Michael understands that he speaks for a lot of people."

In the ABC interview, Steele defended his leadership of the RNC amid recent reports he has engaged in excessive spending. The interview was Steele's first since reports surfaced that the RNC paid for a night out at a risqué Hollywood nightclub.

Wilder's full interview appeared Monday on CNN's "John King, USA."

Filed under: JKUSA • John King USA • Michael Steele • Popular Posts • RNC
soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. xavier

    Problem is that Steel isnt wanted by the republican party. He is a token figure.

    April 5, 2010 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  2. Clint, Wa.

    He is the perfect person for the job, just like the rest of the GOP he has no clue as to what, when, where, or how to do anything.

    April 5, 2010 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  3. ib

    Steele should listen to Wilder who has turned into a very smart person.

    April 5, 2010 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  4. ted

    Steele is a moron for having played the race card. The guy is a loser and that is OK with me. The whole GOP is a bunch of losers and whiners.

    Obama/Biden 2012

    April 5, 2010 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  5. NYdoc

    Thank you Mr. Wilder. As a female black professional, but more importantly as a human being, I cringe every time Steele opens his mouth. It's an embarrassment. Unfortunately, people who do not have much indepth interaction with minorities will use these little media snippits to formulate an opinion that will be used to judge others or support previous prejudices. It's a shame.
    My advice to Mr. Steele, shut up, put your nose to the grinder and get the work done like every other human being has to do in this country if they want to excell at life. We all have obstacles, learn to jump over them my brother.

    April 5, 2010 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |

    Tell him to quit. He has no chance on the conservative right of ever being Preside. by the way after the Present Administration neither will they.

    April 5, 2010 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  7. valwayne

    I don't think that Michael Steele is being held to a different standard because he's black, but it is pretty obvously that there's a segment of the Republican party that is bitter that he beat them and got the position and they are out to knife him in the back. They really need to stop and start supporting the Chairman. There's too much riding on Nov for petty intra-party politics to screw things up. Knock off the nonsense. This crap is why the voters decided to give the Democrats a try and its hurting the nation. Get your prorities straight. In case you don't know what that is its bringing balance back to our Government in Nov before Obama, Pelosi, and Reid can do any more damage!!!!

    April 5, 2010 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  8. Keith in Austin

    Stop the bickering and set the focus on knocking liberals out of office! They're the true problem with our Country!

    April 5, 2010 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  9. Chuck

    As offensive as this may seem to some, Michael Steele got the job BECAUSE of his race. The GOP was (and is) in trouble with almost every minority out there, and they saw the writing on the wall when it was clear that Barack Obama would be our next president. The GOP 'countered' all of this by picking Michael Steele. His own credentials are about the same as another unqualified person who has sought high-level jobs: Sarah Palin.

    I will submit that Steele is not being held to a higher standard. He is being held to almost no standard. He is certainly helping the GOP with minorities. He's causing strife for his party, and making a lot of people look bad in the process.

    A real leader...leads. So far, Steele has only complained and made excuses. This was simply not the right person. There were plenty of minority candidates they could have chosen for this job that were also competent.

    April 5, 2010 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  10. Eddie B.

    How dare he say that he is being held to a higher standard because he is black, but he will never admit that about Barack Obama.

    April 5, 2010 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  11. phoenix86

    Good advice for Obama as well, then again, America is better off when Obama goes on his monthly field trips and vacations.

    April 5, 2010 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  12. Shirley in California

    Thank you Mr. Wilder. Now, I think he actually expects black people to yell and scream on his behalf. He's an ignorant SOAB and deserves absolutely no air time period. He wanted he job – he got it – now he needs to act like a man and do it.

    You will get no respect here Mr. Steeele. Please go away back to your republican party!

    April 5, 2010 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  13. T'SAH from Virginia

    He is doing the job Wilder – a bad one!! It's too late – he used the race card and that will stick with him. On top of that, he tried to drag President Obama into it when in the past – he complained that President Obama was using the race card.... You can't be Black sometimes!!

    April 5, 2010 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  14. Richard Komi

    I have to agree with the governor that Michael Steele has broken barriers and needs to do his job has RNC chairman and not complain. At the same time I want to note that when African Americans hold any high office, they are held to a higher standard and scrutinized more than their white counterparts.

    April 6, 2010 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  15. Bob True American

    Steele is pathetic, all that is needed to be said.

    April 6, 2010 06:25 am at 6:25 am |