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. susan

    Does Michael Steele believe the American people are blind . The signs were spewed all over the media, with non stop coverage if I may add. Not to mention images of the First Lady and the President altered to look like a pimp and an animals.

    The Naacp is right to stand up and demand that the Tea Party and its leaders denounce their racist activity.

    It's a sad day when an Afirican American stands up to the NAACP and denies blatant racism ....the same institution that made it possible for people like Michael an Afican American have the same equalities as all Americans.

    It was the same Michael Steele who said "he has a smaller margin for error because he is African American".

    I guess he has a selective memory!!!

    July 14, 2010 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  2. JES

    I think Steele is right.

    The said problem is that it seems everything if it's not perfect for the NAACP it's a race issue.

    The NAACP are the #1 racist when it comes to being a racist.

    I don't think I have ever seen the NCCAP, Jesse Jackson, or Al Sharpton ever said we we wrong when they accused people of being racist that were proven to be not guilty.

    Think about the Duke players didn't see anyone saying we were wrong only one example of racisit remarks to to many to give them all.

    July 14, 2010 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  3. Cynthia

    The NAACP can go to you know where! They have done nothing to help the black community in the last decade. They are nothing, but a mouth piece for the democratic party. Their tax status should be changed.

    The NAACP is just as racists. How can the NAACP just go ahead and say they are racists, has anyone from the NAACP actually attended a Tea Party rally. Perhaps they should talk to my husband, he has gone and guess what...OMG you won't believe this, but yes there were other black people there and no they were not spat on or called degrading names.

    The NAACP are hypocrites. They are elitists that think they know best and have not reached out to the black community in years only when it is election time do they reach out and say you must vote for this democratic candidate because otherwise the republicans will have us in slavery again.

    I won't hold my breath that this will be posted. CNN is real good about posting what they think readers should read. They are just as agenda driven as the next organization.

    July 14, 2010 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  4. Future expat

    "They are a diverse group of passionate Americans"

    This is a lie. It has been reported over and over and over again that Tea Partiers are by and large old, white, and Republican.

    July 14, 2010 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  5. Video Guy

    And when did Mr Steele show President Obama the respect he is due.
    Mr Steele, you may not care for the man, but you must respect the office of the President.

    July 14, 2010 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  6. Pat in Jacksonville, FL

    Yeah Steele I agree "Enough with the naem calling" except how about you say that to your own party members.

    July 14, 2010 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  7. remembering

    Mr. Steele,

    It is so time for you to retire/resign your chairmanship position within the RNC. What are you waiting for anyway?

    July 14, 2010 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  8. mamacoo

    Isn't it interesting how some people are vilifying the NAACP, ACCORN, other organizations that deal with minority issues, Al Sharpton, Jessie Jackson and other African Americans who address minority issues but apologise to Rush Limbaugh. They hold Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachman, Glen Beck and the like in such high esteem but if an African American speaks out then here we go, they are racist, they are criminals, they are horrible people. I would like to know what makes these people any different than the likes of Limbaugh, Beck, Hannity and the like?

    July 14, 2010 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  9. LJ

    I am not a Tea Party member. I am a life long Democrat who regrets his vote for Pres. Obama (and the rest of the current crop of Democrats) and I am voting a straight Party ticket in Nov. 2010 – all Republican.
    Again, I applaud Mr. Steele for being the Voice of Reason in the wilderness. I think the NAACP has done much good, solid work over time. The organization and its members lead us down the right path in the Civil Rights work of the 60's and 70's that lead America to really work to treat ALL Americans with honor, dignity, fairness and justice. When they return to those core values they will have earned the continued support (in word, deed and in donations) and respect of all Americans.
    Yes, Mr. Steele is correct. Enough of the name calling. Let's work together to fix the problems with our economy, our families, under the banner of the betterment of all Americans.

    July 14, 2010 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  10. concerned american

    How is "every" member of a tea party considered racist by an organization that will only take up causes promoted by americans of one skin color?! They promote the racism they allegedly seek to erase!

    July 14, 2010 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |

    If the Tea Party is for "limited govt" then why are they anti-abortion, anti-gay, anti-marijuana, anti-evolutionists?

    July 14, 2010 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  12. Beverly - NYC

    Steele, open your eyes and get off your knees. Someday you will realize you're just a figurehead chairman. The Republicans just wanted their own Obama, and they got you, serves the right thinking we are all alike. The tea party is packed with gun toting racist. Just because they shun the sheet and hood their views on the place of black people are the same. The rhetoric may be different but it's the same. Showing the same 6 black faces in attendance at the Republican convention does not make your party inclusive. Your party has gone from embracing the religious moral majority to lock step with the nutter minority.

    July 14, 2010 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  13. Eric31m

    Where's the proof they are racist? There isn't any. The only racists are the people who make up the NAACP. Talk a walk!

    July 14, 2010 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  14. they call me "tater salad"

    Hey Mike.........We'll end the name calling just as soon as you and the entire Republican party end all of the mindless and empty criticisms against OUR President.......Work for you?........I guarantee, had Obama not won the election, you my friend, wouldn't have gotten a sniff at the RNC chairmanship, in fact, instead of leading the RNC you would still be cleaning their toilets and serving them coffee like a good little "house boy"! You must be the only person in the country that doesn't see how much you're being used by the Republicans so they can project a certain image to all their halfwit junior high dropout supporters..........You really need to wake up and get a clue!!!!!

    July 14, 2010 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  15. T

    Uncle Tom, please go away

    July 14, 2010 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  16. elsie

    How does he sleep?

    July 14, 2010 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  17. Albo58

    As one of the arms of the Democrat Party, the archaic, race-baiting NAACP is brought out from time to time (depending on how bad the Democrats and especially this President are performing) to drop a race card...what's new? For most of us honest and decent Americans, we've come to expect nothing less and we just ignore it!

    July 14, 2010 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  18. D.

    Enough of Steele all ready.

    July 14, 2010 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  19. JR

    It seems like the NAACP is talking about the Tea Party and not the RNC.
    Therefore, what the Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele has to do with that?

    July 14, 2010 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  20. J.T.

    Please do not call Steele an Uncle Tom. He just doing what Limbaugh, Beck, and Palin telling him what to do. Don't you guys see the puppet strings on his back?

    July 14, 2010 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  21. once upon a horse

    wow looks to me instead of the libs pushing the panic button it seems that somebody "hit a nerve"! And Mike Steele telling ANYBODY to stop the name calling is comical in itself.

    July 14, 2010 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  22. dont worry

    Yooooooooooooo. Mr Steele come on SON!!!!!!!! The Proper Version. While they worried bout it man, look that video showed the one man standing by the congressman spitting on him and yelling HARD. They worried bout NBPP they dont speak for me so......... But the tea party speaks for lots of folks and real talk right now racism or not they deep. All i have to say is this though IF ONE MORE PERSON SAY THAT THINGS WERE BETTER UNDER BUSH YOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. Im going to have a kneption.

    July 14, 2010 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  23. Bonnie Rubinow

    In response to: 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."

    I deeply resent the implication that the Tea Party positions their members as caring deeply about their country as if in contrast to other than Tea Party members not caring about their country. and as for their supposed selfless contributions to make a difference, that is to veil the fact that they just won't accept and respect the American voting system that chose Obama fair and square.

    July 14, 2010 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  24. anotherGDlefty

    Yeah Mike, enough with the name calling...

    Socialists, fascists, marxists, communists, Hitler, Lenin, ruining America, hating America, hating the troops, hating business, etc, etc.

    While you're at it, how about an actual GOP governing plan & platform besides NO. Any ideas besides tax cuts that go unfunded?

    Mike, you would be funny if you weren't such a puppet.
    Shove off sock puppet.

    July 14, 2010 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  25. harold

    You know better than to say that.. MR. Steele.. Look at the signs in the T party group..Mustashe and all...Can you see well?

    July 14, 2010 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
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