July 14th, 2010
05:23 PM ET
12 years ago

Michael Steele to NAACP: 'Enough with the name-calling'

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/07/14/art.steele.file.gi.jpg caption ="'Recent statements claiming the Tea Party movement is racist are not only destructive, they are not true,' RNC Chairman Michael Steele said in a statement."]

Washington (CNN) - The organizational leader of the Republican Party is outright dismissing claims from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People that the Tea Party movement is rife with racism.

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele also said, in a statement, "Enough with the name-calling."

Steele is responding to the NAACP's resolution, passed on Tuesday, that condemns the Tea Party movement for what the NAACP believes is rampant racism from many activists. As head of the RNC, Steele - the organization's first African-American chairman – is essentially pitting the Republican Party against the nation's oldest civil rights group on this specific issue.

"Recent statements claiming the Tea Party movement is racist are not only destructive, they are not true," Steele began in his statement.

"Tea Party activists are your mom or dad, your local grocer, banker, hairdresser or doctor. They are a diverse group of passionate Americans who want to ensure that our nation returns to founding principles that honor the Constitution, limit government's role in our lives, and support policies that empower free markets and free enterprise," he said.

While everyday moms, dads and local service providers that Steele refers to certainly attend rallies and meetings for the conservative movement, the NAACP feels that some of them – but certainly not all – harbor prejudiced feelings towards minorities.

NAACP President and CEO Ben Jealous said in an interview with CNN's Don Lemon on Wednesday, "Our concern is that we haven't seen [leaders]…come out and aggressively denounce people." His group does acknowledge that some leaders of the Tea Party movement have denounced racism within their ranks.

Steele is not the only Republican, who is also African-American, to criticize the NAACP's action.

Tim Scott is a GOP candidate running for the seat in South Carolina's First Congressional District.

In a statement released Tuesday, Scott said, "I believe that the NAACP is making a grave mistake in stereotyping a diverse group of Americans who care deeply about their country and who contribute their time, energy and resources to make a difference."

An ABC News/Washington Post Poll from April reveals widespread sentiment about the Tea Party movement. In the poll, 49 percent said that support for the movement is based on racial prejudice against President Obama. And 43-percent feel that is not fueling the movement.

The actual text of the NAACP resolution will not be released until the group's National Board of Directors have a full vote in October.

–CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report

Filed under: Michael Steele • NAACP • RNC
soundoff (65 Responses)
  1. Russ

    Speak for yourself dudeo, that isn't my mom or dad among that bunch of crazies!

    July 14, 2010 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  2. Moderate Sean

    This man is truly an idiot! He couldn't get elected to a higher office in Maryland, so I am not sure why the RNC hired him for this job. I guess you get what you pay for/hire, and in this case, it's a second fiddle!

    July 14, 2010 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  3. L

    NAACP is right to raise the caution flag about racism.

    Looking at the placards in the various new stories, and published excerpts from tea party speeches, I believe they do contain many of the code words often associated with racism in past years.

    July 14, 2010 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  4. louis perez

    steele is a liar, didn't he lie about the President and the war, liar.

    July 14, 2010 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  5. David

    And the GOP/Tea Party sends their one visual minority to defend them.

    July 14, 2010 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  6. Jeff - Austin, TX

    Hey, Mr. Steele, read the billboard that the North Iowa Tea Party erected comparing President Obama to Hitler and Lenin. Clean up your own house first. And remember to remind your Tea Party and Republican friends to spit into a spitoon and not in another persons face, to stop their race mongering and hate-filled speech and develop and present contructive ideas of how all of us can move this country forward rather than leading the charge back to the 18th century.

    July 14, 2010 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  7. Darth Vadik, CA

    Enough with Uncle Tom-ing Steele...

    July 14, 2010 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  8. Mickey, NY

    Sorry, Uncle Tom, the show's just starting!

    July 14, 2010 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  9. Smith in Oregon

    Enough with the name calling of the Republican Potty'ticians goals, legislation, special interests, graft, corruption, greed and racism?

    We have just begun, get used to it. American's are fed up with stepping in elephant dung everywhere they step in this post Bush Family values era.

    We'll scrape your gross droppings off our shoes, tell you exactly what we think of your actions and help bring America forward with ethics and moral principles entirely lacking in the ultra-right conservative Republican Party.

    July 14, 2010 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  10. MsDp

    steele really needs to face reality now! I wish he could for once be truthful. my heart goes out to this blind token.

    July 14, 2010 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  11. shane

    first off... michael steele REALLY should never open his mouth to help anything... but that doesnt mean he's wrong.

    but if the tea party did allow racist into their group than wouldnt that make them anti racisist and non discrimanatory? if a group picks and chooses who to allow in based on beliefs doesnt that mean that they discriminate?

    just a thought

    July 14, 2010 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  12. Keith in Austin

    Sounds like Ben Jealous President of the NAACP has been lobbied by the DNC. Playing the race card to attack the Tea Party Movement is stooping to new lows!

    More interesting is the fact that no one can verify that his attacks are true.

    Dirty Politics that divide our Nation even more. Change you can believe in!

    July 14, 2010 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  13. mike

    Its funny whenever they describe the tea party they always replace "white" with "diverse". Must be a simple republican error.

    July 14, 2010 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  14. phoenix86

    The NAACP is a racist organization promoting violence and should be curtailed along with the Nazi Party and most liberals.

    July 14, 2010 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  15. independent

    Steele, be a man.

    Linked with that crowd, I would hate to have to tell you what you are being to look like. Underneath it all, they detest you. Any platitudes are just that, not honest assessments. Grow a pair, be a man, walk away on your terms and stop trying to be what the GOP wants you to be (and say).

    July 14, 2010 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
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