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. Pen

    This is what we get once we elected the Hope and Change President. We were all supposed to be more unified as a nation but all we get is more race baiting from the NAACP and Jesse Jackson. The NAACP and Jesse Jackson are hardly relevant anymore because people dismiss them for their crazed name calling, race baiting and lying.

    July 14, 2010 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |

    I agree with Uncle Tom. Stop calling our President names to start.

    July 14, 2010 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  3. Steph

    Your entire article is about the two black guys in the GOP who issued statements asking the NAACP not to call some tea party activities at rallies racist, BUT niether of them said there aren't racists in the tea party movement.

    July 14, 2010 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  4. Big_D

    They are not racist, they just think that the civil rights bill went too far by making private businesses and clubs serve black people. (SARCASM)

    July 14, 2010 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  5. annie s

    Thank you, but Tea Party activists are most assuredly not my mom and dad. My mom and dad actually pay attention to facts and are capable of making up their mind on issues without any help from Death Panel Sarah.

    July 14, 2010 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  6. hobart

    Just like a Republican. Call people racist names, and then say, "stop the name calling" if anyone says anything about it.

    Earth To Steele: the Tea Party does have a very vocal racist minority who carry racist signs, scream racist epithets, leave racist death threats on answering machines. The Tea Party does not do enough to purge itself of these lunatics.

    And, by the way, to the Tea Party, you're a RINO. They are the folks leading the charge calling for you to step down.

    July 14, 2010 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  7. Marty, AL

    What the who!! Name calling, what about the name calling by the Tea Party?

    July 14, 2010 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  8. lolo

    Please Uncle Tom, You need to go hide in a cave. After November you will be gone. The republicans used you to draw in the minority votes and it did not happen. Now they want to get rid of you. No one is listening to your comments. You and your gopers and tea partiers really need to go to the library and learn the real reason why the NAACP was started, because not one of you have a clue. This organization is totally different from what the tea partiers are spewing today. They are racists to the core and everyone sees it. They are so glad that they can show their true colors that they are shouting it to the entire world. They think now that they do not have to hold back. Going back to the way things were in the 50's and 60's. You Mr Steele should be ashamed of yourself for even trying to explain their positions. If you are not ashamed i am ashamed for you.

    July 14, 2010 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  9. Hangar 13

    Typical liberals, invent an outrageous lie and repeat the mantra until it becomes "truth" in the media's eyes. Until someone comes up with ONE SINGLE EXAMPLE of racist motives within the Tea Party movement, why not focus on the hundreds of overtly racist statements emanating from the NAACP?

    July 14, 2010 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  10. S Callahan

    It seems obvious, or suspicious, that funding is coming from sources that want to set the agenda for American politics....it's suspicious and even possible this voting decision was bought by that influence.....this is a sad day for NAACP. It's forgetting it's roots in an organization that began grass roots, long before political sway....just like the tea party......Sad.
    I can't disagree more on this.....sure there are racists that are in the 'Tea Party'..but it's not the majority....this is a human flaw that exist even in the NAACP and many other organizations.
    The majority of Tea Party involvers are hardworking citizens that are concern about the well being and health of this country.

    July 14, 2010 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  11. felicia

    I got a couple of names i would call steele to his fugy face.

    July 14, 2010 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  12. jules sand-perkins

    When Michael Steele gets something right, he should be congratulated.
    He is 100% correct about the NAACP's Tea Party resolution.
    Bully for Steele, and bully for the Republicans on whose behalf he spoke about this matter.

    July 14, 2010 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  13. jacq

    Steel is a total sale out

    July 14, 2010 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  14. bob

    Michael Steele should talk about the name calling. He should have figured it out by now, that he is only a token leader of the Republican Party because of the color of his skin. He is a rarity. The Republican Party's big tent doesn't include many people of color, so they chose Steele ( after six rounds of voting) to have him go toe to toe with President Obama, which he can't do. If you want to stop the name calling, it should start with Michael Steele.

    July 14, 2010 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  15. XWngLady

    No Mr. Steele, this group is not made up of people who could be MY MOM and DAD or even YOUR Mom and Dad. Because our Moms and Dads are black, or have you forgotten. I do not see any blacks out there holding signs with pictures of Pres. Obama with a bone in his nose. I do not see other blacks spitting on Civil Rights leaders over a piece of Legislation. I do not see any black Tea Party speakers saying that the people who voted for the President "can't spell the word vote or don't know how to say it in English" . No the Tea Partiers who have actually said and done these things are white. Period. When 10% of the organization says that they are in the group because they are upset that the President is black, that speaks for itself.......I have just ONE MORE name for YOU Mr. Steele...it starts with a "T" and rhymes with 'spoken'.

    July 14, 2010 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  16. Donnatella

    This is what they hired this token for, I wish he was white and could go to a tea party rally and here the things I heard, they will never say these things in the presence of a person of color, the thing about bigots is most are cowards. You are an idiot Michael Steele if you only knew.

    July 14, 2010 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  17. Jack

    Now; Mr. Steele, stand up to Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hanity and the other talk show hosts; including Nwet Grigrich and his Lott that only in business of name calling and just maybe you might get this independent conservative to think about voting republican on the national level

    July 14, 2010 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  18. Rickster

    Perhaps the NAACP should look in the mirror because the only group in this fight that is "rife with racism" is them.

    July 14, 2010 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  19. Robert Noble

    When a Republican can criticize ANY one for name calling, they have to have had their head buried in the sand. There is no bigger bunch of name callers in the world than the members of that party. But then it takes a racist organization to feel offended by any other group being labeled racist.

    Please Mr. Steel, get real.

    July 14, 2010 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  20. Susan

    Steele baby,

    Grow up

    July 14, 2010 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  21. vic

    Recovery statement from RNC Chairman to hold his job

    July 14, 2010 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  22. Rani McBride

    It's true! Face up to it Steele!

    July 14, 2010 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  23. Sniffit

    Really? One of the people literally calling the POTUS a "socialist" is telling others not to call names? Mushmouth Mushmouth Mushmouth!!!!

    July 14, 2010 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  24. SH

    Michael Steele is right and he should prove he is right by headlining the next Tea Party Rally that is going to take place in Cut-N-Shoot Texas. He could be the guest of honor. They will weclome him with open arms.

    Note to Mr. Steele:
    The first rule of hole is to stop digging.

    July 14, 2010 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  25. key

    did he happen to see the young girl crying in front of the sign. How hateful is that. get real you guys feed off name calling

    July 14, 2010 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
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