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Michael Steele: Slapping Matt Schlapp

January 13, 2023
Notes
Transcript

Former RNC Chair Michael Steele had a front-row seat for the start of the ugly transformation at CPAC. Racist rhetoric has now been normalized, and they’re not even pretending anymore. Steele joins Charlie Sykes for the weekend pod.

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This transcript was generated automatically and may contain errors and omissions. Ironically, the transcription service has particular problems with the word “bulwark,” so you may see it mangled as “Bullard,” “Boulart,” or even “bull word.” Enjoy!
  • Speaker 1
    0:00:08

    Welcome to the Bullework Podcast. I’m Treleys psych. It is Friday the thirteenth. Now, I’m not gonna say that I’m superstitious, but when I got up today, I had to ask myself what could go wrong today, but then I realized I asked myself that every single day. Right.
  • Speaker 1
    0:00:26

    So joining me on today’s podcast. Michael Steele. Welcome back to Michael.
  • Speaker 2
    0:00:30

    It was good to be back with you, Charlie. I have a variation on that theme when I get up every day. Instead of asking what could go wrong today, I
  • Speaker 1
    0:00:38

    just simply ask who can I piss off today? Oh, well, then virtually every day is like mine to kind of successful.
  • Speaker 2
    0:00:44

    Right. Exactly. Okay.
  • Speaker 1
    0:00:46

    So for people who I mean, for the one or two of you who don’t know, Michael steals a former chair of the Republican National Committee, don’t blame him. Mhmm. He was lieutenant governor of Maryland and a political analyst for MSNBC also host the Michael Steele podcast, so he is no stranger to podcast. You know, there’s so much to talk about today, Michael. And this week, which felt very, very long.
  • Speaker 1
    0:01:07

    It’s also a reminder how fast things move in politics that one week in politics can be a lifetime. Which just as a reminder for people who assume they know what’s going to happen a year from now or two years from now, think about this week. Think about I’m sorry to say use the word vibe this early in the morning, but, you know, the vibe shift that we’ve had this week with moving from, you know, the absolutely shambolic story about how Republicans and how Democrats were sitting back and they were eating popcorn and now we’re saying they’re going, oh, what? Joe Biden’s getting his his time in the barrel with a new special counsel.
  • Speaker 2
    0:01:43

    I mean, shit moves fast. It does. It does, and it waits for no one. And the reality of it is, you’re either gonna get ahead of the shit or you’re gonna get consumed by the shit. And that’s where I think the Biden administration feels or should feel it is right now.
  • Speaker 2
    0:02:02

    The Republicans went through that shit storm, if you will, last week. I’m trying to get Kevin McCarthy the speaker’s ship. And the reality of it is simply you don’t know, which is why you’re always, particularly from someone from my perspective who’ve been in the bowels of political activity, you’re always guarding against the next thing. And the reality and the truth of it is, Charlotte, you don’t know what that next thing is going to be. So it really behooves you to when it happens to be on the best and proper foot forward as you can.
  • Speaker 2
    0:02:37

    And you don’t wanna be explaining, you don’t wanna be back as well as the Biden White House there. Are they ahead of this thing? I think that they’re at least running even with it. I’ll give them that because they have been somewhat forthright in terms of Oh, this happened. We turned everything over within less than twenty four hours.
  • Speaker 2
    0:02:58

    Oh, there’s some more stuff that we found in a garage. That’s probably it. If there are any more hiccups, if there’s, oh, well, you know, we found a box, you know, in an office on Capitol Hill, then this becomes a real narrative that has other elements, criminal elements potentially attached to it — Yeah. — which is why you have a special council involved now. But here’s the thing that I find interesting They said that they were moving offices or moving locations and they went through these documents and found it.
  • Speaker 2
    0:03:31

    I’m just curious if any of our other former presidents are also potentially in this pickle, that if they go back to their documents, they would find something that’s secret. We’re gonna double back
  • Speaker 1
    0:03:42

    on all this, but I wanna get a sense of, you know, how how bad this is, what it means for Trump and and all of that. But because it’s Friday and it’s Friday the thirteenth. I kinda wanna back into that. Can we do that? There’s a couple of other things that I wanted to ask you.
  • Speaker 1
    0:03:55

    Sure. I wanna talk about what’s going on in the house, what the Republican agenda is, what the Republican theory of government is right now. Mhmm. Also, I really do wanna ask you about the RNC chair race, which is kinda blow a lot of people’s radar screen, but I figured you would have some thoughts about that. I do have some thoughts on that.
  • Speaker 1
    0:04:11

    Yes. We hold them because It it is Friday the thirteenth, so you knew some shit was gonna come down. And because I am old enough to remember lots of things, I have in my back pocket sort of a list of real golden oldies of great moments in American politics, great videos, and I wanna go back Why why don’t I feel like I’m getting in trouble here? This is purely coincidental that I wanna play something for you, given the fact that you may have noticed, I don’t know, Matt Schlap is back in the news again. Oh, yeah.
  • Speaker 1
    0:04:45

    Boy, is he back in the news? Head of CPAC. In interestingly enough, you and I both go way back with him. So how far back does this go? The moment when you got in his face.
  • Speaker 1
    0:04:58

    You had a a moment. What year is this two thousand seventeen, two thousand eighteen? Yeah. Yeah. It’s a while.
  • Speaker 1
    0:05:05

    Anyway, so here is this classic moment Michael’s skill sitting, and by the way, this is this is kind of unusual sometimes in politics. You are sitting right next to him. This is eyeball to eyeball mona mona Yeah. This is not tweeting, sub tweeting, or, you know, commenting on in boxes on television, you guys were sitting right there It begins with some comments by a c pack flunky. Actually, no flunky.
  • Speaker 1
    0:05:34

    No flunky. Okay. Who was he? He was the communications director. Oh, okay.
  • Speaker 1
    0:05:40

    Thank you for the clarification. That’s what that’s what made it so egregious. He was the communications director, so this was deliberate. So here is the communications director of CPAC, which is the conservative political action, whatever the hell it’s called. Everybody knows what it is.
  • Speaker 1
    0:05:56

    It’s a Star Wars bar scene of American conservatism. So it started with this jab by this guy, whose name I’m not gonna try to remember against Michael Steele. And then the follow-up is when We just say that Schlap tries to downplay it and Michael is just not having it. Let’s play it.
  • Speaker 3
    0:06:17

    We had just elected the first African American president and that was a big deal. And we weren’t sure what to do. And a little bit of cynicism, what do we
  • Speaker 4
    0:06:26

    do? This
  • Speaker 3
    0:06:27

    is a terrible thing. We elected Mike Steele to be the R and C chair because he’s a black guy that was the wrong thing to do.
  • Speaker 5
    0:06:32

    Those words that tumbled out of his mouth — Right. I believed were unfortunate words. It was stupid. It’s not unfortunate. You call it what it is.
  • Speaker 5
    0:06:40

    Yeah. And he and and it is stupid to sit there and say, that we elected a black man chairman of the party and that was a mistake. But do you do you know how that sounds to the black community? Yes. I know.
  • Speaker 5
    0:06:51

    You know how that sounds to Americans? I do. And do you know how they didn’t equate that level of stupidity to conservatism? That’s the that’s the objection I have about the moment.
  • Speaker 1
    0:07:00

    I know that he
  • Speaker 5
    0:07:00

    called you. He called you. He felt terrible. No. He did.
  • Speaker 5
    0:07:04

    I
  • Speaker 4
    0:07:04

    talked to him.
  • Speaker 5
    0:07:05

    That doesn’t change anything. I’d spent forty one years in this party. Forty one. Alright? I’ve taken crap you have no idea about and I’ve carried this baggage.
  • Speaker 5
    0:07:20

    And for him, to stand on that stage and denigrate my service to this party. And for you as a friend to sit here and sit there and go, well, you’ve been critical of the
  • Speaker 2
    0:07:30

    party. There’s
  • Speaker 5
    0:07:31

    only one word I can say and I can’t say it on this air. There was a there was a little bit of flop sweat there.
  • Speaker 2
    0:07:37

    Yeah. Yeah. It it took honest of energy I had at me not to reach across the mic and slap the shit out of them.
  • Speaker 1
    0:07:42

    Okay. Alright.
  • Speaker 2
    0:07:43

    Because Matt knew better. I’d known Matt at that point almost damn near twenty years. I remember when his first daughter was born. And we had been in the political vineyard for a long time. This is wonderful wife, Mercedes.
  • Speaker 2
    0:07:59

    And to watch the two of them, just transform into this distorted sort of ugly version. Of political characters has been very heartbreaking in many respects. I mean, Charlie, I know you know people. That you look at right now and go, what the hell happened? Right?
  • Speaker 2
    0:08:16

    Oh, yeah. So that was the moment for me, and that was actually the beginning. Of this ugly transformation inside CPAC, the rock started to grow inside the party. They felt comfortable. You know, look, I dealt with that crap when I was chairman.
  • Speaker 2
    0:08:33

    I had people like, oh, you’re only elected because Barack Obama was, you know, they won’t stand a black man up against Well, first off, chairman of the R. C. Is not equivalent to being president of the United States, so there’s no equivalency there. Electing me had nothing to do with no counterweight to Barack Obama for God. Say.
  • Speaker 2
    0:08:50

    Secondly, these folks knew me I’d been on the committee. I served on the executive committee when I was state chairman of Maryland. I’m the only chairman who was a county chairman, state chairman, you know, national chairman and an elected official. So I kinda know the game and I know the party. And to say that the five states they came forward, not once, but twice.
  • Speaker 2
    0:09:10

    In two thousand six, five states went to the White House, went to president Bush, and said, we like Michael Steele when there was a vacancy. I think it was epilepsy a step down. They had wanted to have the president appoint me as chairman call roll mixed that in the butt because he and I butted heads over Katrina during the two thousand six campaign. And so he killed that, and that’s how we got the senator from Florida as our national chairman. Who was that?
  • Speaker 2
    0:09:38

    I’m trying to remember. I’m Mel Martinez. Oh, man. Okay. And so it just I couldn’t take it to sit there and have someone say that, you know,
  • Speaker 4
    0:09:48

    you were
  • Speaker 2
    0:09:49

    elected because you were a black man and it was a mistake. After I had done something that no other chairman had done in almost a hundred years, and that has actually win more elections than they knew what to do with. I
  • Speaker 1
    0:10:03

    was like,
  • Speaker 2
    0:10:04

    I’m not gonna sit here and let this bitch go after me and explain it away. And so I put his feet to the fire on it, and then he had the nerve to look at me and say, I should show some
  • Speaker 1
    0:10:17

    grace. Yeah. You should tell
  • Speaker 2
    0:10:18

    you what to do with that grace.
  • Speaker 4
    0:10:21

    Let
  • Speaker 2
    0:10:23

    me tell you what to do with that grace. So right now, Matt, this is what I have to say to you, Matt. Given that you like to pummel young men while they’re driving their car, I still don’t even know what the hell that is. I don’t know how you do that. But have some grace, Matt?
  • Speaker 2
    0:10:38

    Have
  • Speaker 1
    0:10:38

    some grace. Yeah. Have have some grace. Do something about it. I’ve used the word a oleaginous to describe him because he is sort of greasy guy kind of this, like like, sort of, like tofu he takes on the coloration of everything around it.
  • Speaker 1
    0:10:50

    Yeah. But he is transformation into a complete Trumpist suckup is really extraordinary. And you and you mentioned, you know, that you’ve known him for some time. I actually was standing in a hallway at CPAC back in two thousand sixteen right after he and the other executives of CPAC told Donald Trump know they weren’t gonna give into his demands and everything, and Trump decided he was gonna boycott CPAC because back then
  • Speaker 5
    0:11:16

    it wasn’t
  • Speaker 1
    0:11:17

    a safe space. And at that moment, you know, match lap was willing to basically say to Donald Trump, fuck off. And now he is the ultimate just sock up. Right. And he’s dealing with this nasty scandal, which he’s in complete denial about it, but it also exposes what a complete phony he is.
  • Speaker 1
    0:11:35

    You know, what if Hippocrit is not a strong enough word to describe him. It’s
  • Speaker 2
    0:11:41

    not a strong enough word And the thing about this narrative is that this young man, married man, volunteering trying to break into politics. Talking about the guy who was pummeled and groped and grabbed. Yes.
  • Speaker 1
    0:11:55

    Okay. Yes.
  • Speaker 2
    0:11:55

    Who has made the allegation has been able to back it up with contemporaneous evidence. So it’s not like, oh, he’s just now saying this happened and there’s no way to connect that moment he has contemporary in his videos where he felt so bad. He just wanted to express it out. He told his friends, he told his wife when all of this happened. So I don’t know how all this plays out.
  • Speaker 2
    0:12:23

    He said he wasn’t gonna say anything or come forward unless Matt had denied it. His lawyers have denied it. And so now they’re like, okay, game on. So look for more to come. But here’s the thing for me.
  • Speaker 2
    0:12:34

    I’m just spitballing here. That’s not the first time at fifty some years old that you decide, oh, you know what? I’ve always wanted to pummel a guy. Let me see what that’s like. No.
  • Speaker 2
    0:12:44

    I think
  • Speaker 1
    0:12:44

    that that’s a pretty safe bed.
  • Speaker 2
    0:12:46

    I’m waiting for other shoes to come out of the closet and say, yeah, when we were in Oregon, when we were in Florida, when I was in New York, No. It’s CPAC event. This happened to me too. You’re waiting for
  • Speaker 1
    0:13:00

    other shoes to drop. The next shoe to drop out of a closet.
  • Speaker 2
    0:13:03

    Yep. I
  • Speaker 1
    0:13:03

    actually once rode in the back of a car with a match lap. Nothing happened, and I’m trying not to take it personally now. I’m just I’m just I’m just thank you.
  • Speaker 2
    0:13:12

    I I think you need to share that with your therapist to work through it.
  • Speaker 4
    0:13:17

    We’re all juggling life, a career, and trying to build a little really well. The Brown Ambition podcast with host, Mandy, and Tiffany, Thebudget needs to can help. It’s time
  • Speaker 6
    0:13:26

    for the b a q a a, the b a q a, which say the b a a. My initial question answers. You have questions? We have some answers. We are
  • Speaker 4
    0:13:36

    not your therapist. They’ll get to financialize with your attorney, but we are two smart brown girls when it comes to money, career, business, brown ambition, listen wherever you get your podcast. On a
  • Speaker 1
    0:13:48

    more serious level, I was listening to this and, you know, to flashing back to this comment when they were playing the race card against you and And there, you know, the guy calls you and he’s apologetic and match lap is trying, you know, find some way to gloss it over. What’s interesting is that from then to now, which is to watch the trajectory how the kind of normalization of racist rhetoric has just proceeded to pace as CPAC. I mean, it it’s like they don’t even pretend anymore. You know what I’m I’m getting at Yeah. I listened to a podcast I had with Matt Lewis back from two thousand nineteen, which is really not that long ago.
  • Speaker 1
    0:14:23

    And this was right at the moment when Republicans were gonna have to decide what they were going to do, with Steve King, the congressman from Iowa who had said things about white supremacy. And and at that time, Republicans still actually cared about not sounding that particular way. They cared about having a little bit of ideological hygiene and moral backbone, and they actually did strip Steve King. Well, think about where the Republican Party has gone from that moment. To the moment where Kevin McCarthy is taking selfies with Marjorie Taylor Green.
  • Speaker 1
    0:14:56

    It’s like, in recent memory, they actually cared about this or at least went through the motions of caring about it. Now it’s like screw it. This is who we are. We’re not apologizing to anybody. Right?
  • Speaker 1
    0:15:08

    I mean, And this has happened within the last four or five years.
  • Speaker 2
    0:15:12

    Yeah. That that particular feature of this has emerged over the last four or five years. But that underlying narrative has been an internal battle for the party going back to the late fifties that has grown up inside the party. This element that lurched away from the party’s civil rights origin story. Its human rights origin story, its individual rights origin story to embrace this sort of a view of itself and America that manifest in the John Burch Society trying to take root inside the GOP.
  • Speaker 2
    0:15:51

    Nixon’s southern strategy in the sixty eight campaign to try to open up the South, which was controlled by Democrats so that Republicans could win presidential elections. These things all began to metastasize the moral majority sort of bringing in this religious element into party that its libertarian roots said, look, you do you boo. We’re not gonna get into what happens in your bedroom, in your home. We just wanna make sure the government isn’t there. Now to saying that not only is the government there, the government is gonna tell you how to make up embed and who you should be in bed with.
  • Speaker 2
    0:16:30

    That arc has been an evolving arc over some time. What Donald Trump did among so many other things was he created permission streams. He would go to his rally and say, yeah, if it were me, I just smack the hell out of him. So that led to people responding with violence. He’s standing here making fun of a disabled reporter that allowed people to begin to say publicly what they thought about other people.
  • Speaker 2
    0:17:00

    So you begin to see this wormhole open up. And sucked more and more of the party into it. And never apologize. And never apologize. Never.
  • Speaker 1
    0:17:11

    This is really an interesting question because you are an African American chairman of the Republican National Committee. So you lived with this. I’ve always described some of these attitudes about race. As a recessive gene on the right in the Republican Party, they’ve always been there. There’s no denying it.
  • Speaker 1
    0:17:28

    Yes. And yet, it seemed for a while as if they were going to once again manage to push those off into the corners. So just tell me about the dynamic. Of a Republican party or a right wing and how it’s dealing with race. I mean, you’ve always known that there were people like this and they played a significant role but they were never in charge.
  • Speaker 1
    0:17:47

    They were always sort of on the fringes. Now they moved from the fringes into the mainstream. So you had to deal with this. In politics in Maryland as lieutenant governor, as a senate candidate, as chairman of the Republican National Committee. So what was the balance like back then?
  • Speaker 2
    0:18:05

    It’s hard in a lot of respects. It is difficult because, I mean, particularly for someone like me who did not grow up in the party. I didn’t come through this system. I was raised in Washington DC, my political origin story. While it was Republican, it was surrounded by a lot of democrats.
  • Speaker 2
    0:18:24

    So I learned the game a little bit differently. I saw and was exposed to that other side of the party before I actually became really involved in the party, which is an interesting way to look at it because, you know, you would have these instances where you’re talking to people and they’re telling you they’re encounter with certain kinds of Republicans who, you know, would say certain things a certain way or, you know, behave a certain way. And it wasn’t until I actually got involved and began to experience in firsthand that I saw this competition, this sort of internal battle inside the party, and it’s an interesting collection, Charlie. They’re those who don’t know what to do with African Americans or gays or hispanics, whatever group that ain’t white. They just don’t know what to do with them.
  • Speaker 2
    0:19:16

    They don’t know how to talk to them. They don’t know what they’re interested in. Is kind of always sort of the stumbling, bumbling, kind of comments that are made. So for example, the day I get election, a member says to me, oh, It’s so exciting to have you as our chairman now, African Americans will become Republicans. That’s where it works.
  • Speaker 2
    0:19:36

    Oh, thanks. Yeah. Alright. Yeah. Because it says pipe pipe wall, my card.
  • Speaker 2
    0:19:41

    Right? And so there is that group. Then you have those who are much more cynical about it. Who see it as a means to an end. Alright.
  • Speaker 2
    0:19:49

    So if we can show just a little bit of, you know, connection to black folks, that’d be enough to dampen the noise that we don’t care, even though we may not care. Then you have those who are are forthright and really believe in banding the party and growing the party. And and so you have this space in which all of these interests are in competition. The commanding difference, my friend, is the leadership of the party that
  • Speaker 1
    0:20:19

    embraces
  • Speaker 2
    0:20:20

    one of those approaches. And unfortunately, we have leadership now that embraces the the combination of the cynical use of race to the outright I feel good about expressing my racism. The final piece is there’s always this pressure. And a lack of understanding that I come into this not as a Republican but as a black
  • Speaker 4
    0:20:44

    man. So I
  • Speaker 2
    0:20:45

    bring my blackness and what all that means into this because it’s a part of who I am. I wake up in the morning, I’m black before I’m Republican, I’m black before I’m Catholic. Right? Because when I walk out that door, no one may they may not know I’m Catholic. They may not know I’m a Republican.
  • Speaker 2
    0:21:02

    They may not know I’m gay or straight. But they damn sure know I’m black. And whatever they feel about black people, that is something I gotta deal with before I even get to say hello. That feature of this relationship is rarely understood and very difficult to approach because people have this sense that, well, you’re republican, you’re part of our tribe, then we need you to go out and sound and act and be like us. I’m like, well, no.
  • Speaker 2
    0:21:35

    That’s not how this works. I will bring our views into my community and express it in a way in which my community can understand it and embrace it, but I’m not gonna come here and sound like a white man in a room full of black
  • Speaker 1
    0:21:53

    people. There’s a name for that, and I’m not that. Right? It was hard being a black republican in that era just a few years ago, hasn’t become exponentially more difficult to be a black republican right now. In the party of Donald Trump and the party of Matt Gates and Marjorie Taylor Green?
  • Speaker 1
    0:22:12

    I would think so. Yeah. I would think
  • Speaker 2
    0:22:15

    so, but they’re those you know, who embrace it, diamond and silk. God rest her sister passed. Yeah. I think it was diamond. There’s some who embrace it and use it because, hey, I can amass two things.
  • Speaker 2
    0:22:29

    I mass money and I am a mass influence because ain’t got no power. You know, I don’t any candace owns all the y’all think you got power now. I mean, you got no power. The only thing you got is the grift and influence. That’s it.
  • Speaker 2
    0:22:45

    And that influence is used at the discretion of those who will push you out there and refer to your tweet or take the snapshot of you and, you know, Charlie Kirk together or whatever. Well,
  • Speaker 1
    0:23:01

    so so so that Charlie Kirk can say some of my best friends are. Of course.
  • Speaker 4
    0:23:05

    Right.
  • Speaker 2
    0:23:05

    Of
  • Speaker 1
    0:23:06

    course. To untangle this whole question of leadership versus followership, the elites versus the base, there are people who will say, well, problem with the Republican Party on race is is not what the elites are doing. It’s this is what Republican voters in the base out in the com you know, in the country. What they want, what they are willing to to tolerate. That’s true, but also leadership does matter, doesn’t it?
  • Speaker 1
    0:23:28

    This is an unanswerable question, but if the leadership of the party made it clear that certain attitudes and behaviors were unacceptable, that would have an effect. On the followers. And
  • Speaker 5
    0:23:41

    we have examples
  • Speaker 2
    0:23:41

    of that of Bob Dole at his national convention for the presidency. In which he was very very clear about the issue of race and racism. John McCain in his run for the presidency. Was declaratively clear about how he would run a campaign against Barack Obama and and pushing back on those within our party who wanted to go down the road of birtheism and all of that. George Bush after nine eleven.
  • Speaker 2
    0:24:13

    And any number of times whether it was the work he was doing to lift up the African continent again or to safeguard the rights of our Muslim brothers and sisters made very clear. So leadership, Charlie, makes a very very clear difference when the leader of your party, the titular head of your party says, no. We’re not who we are. We’re not doing that. And pushes back and stamps it down, the rank and file will follow that.
  • Speaker 2
    0:24:45

    They will appreciate that. And in fact, they in turn will rise up and help push that down in those corners where it could potentially rear its ugly head. But when that leadership turns a blind eye and says, hey, you know, they’re good racist
  • Speaker 4
    0:25:02

    too. You
  • Speaker 2
    0:25:03

    know, they’re fine racist as well. Then that changes the way people look at what’s
  • Speaker 4
    0:25:12

    happening. K. This is
  • Speaker 1
    0:25:14

    a good segue to talk about the the RNC chair race. I really wanna get your views on this. There was a story a couple of days ago in political, Army Dillon, She’s running against Ronald Romney McDaniel. You know, Army Dillon is very, very, very chunky, but she’s also seek And there’s a whispering campaign among ourNC members about Dylan’s seek faith. People are trying to raise all of this.
  • Speaker 1
    0:25:40

    In fact, there was apparently, some supporter of my pillow guy, Michael Lindel, who wants to be RNC chairman. One of the supporters sent out an email saying, is an Indian sequel by birth and heritage, not of Judeo Christian worldview. None of these core character positions aligns the Republican Party platform, planks, or conservatism in general. Political reached out to Mike Lindell, a fellow guy about that. And he just said the the political should shove it.
  • Speaker 2
    0:26:05

    But Let’s talk about this. Well, Michael Endallia, shove it. The fact that he’s given incontinence inside the Republican Party tells you exactly what state the Republican Party is. The fact that he can speak with some degree of credibility running for R and C chairman tells you all you need to know about the state of this party and its leadership. It is woefully woefully weak and incapable of winning the hearts and minds of the American people as long as it stays in that space.
  • Speaker 2
    0:26:37

    With respect to Honeydilla. God bless her. If she can make the case to the one hundred and sixty eight members to run, run, her faith has nothing to do with that, I don’t remember in our platform any declaration saying that we are here for and forever a Christian party. I don’t remember that. We’re not a white Christian nationalist party, but that’s what they want to
  • Speaker 1
    0:27:00

    make. Isn’t Ronald
  • Speaker 2
    0:27:01

    McDaniel a Mormon? Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. We we everyone kinda looks over the fact that that she’s a Mormon.
  • Speaker 2
    0:27:06

    But, hey, what the One of
  • Speaker 1
    0:27:09

    the first things I wrote for the Bulwark was a piece about something that was happening in Texas. Do you remember when you had a Republican County Organization in Texas that had to have a vote on expelling one of its leaders solely because he was Muslim. So this is this is not isolated. Okay. So let me ask you this.
  • Speaker 1
    0:27:25

    So what’s going on here with Ronald McDaniel? She’s facing, looks like a grassroots, a rebellion, looks like it’s gonna fall short. But I guess, so what’s happening and does it matter as somebody who’s held this job before? Talking me about the significance of this. How is it important?
  • Speaker 1
    0:27:41

    How is it not important? It says a lot that the party after losing
  • Speaker 2
    0:27:47

    in the eighteen, nineteen, twenty, twenty one, and twenty two cycles. Has stuck with the leadership that has lost in all of those cycles, that it has not transitioned away from. Now look, I I can say that if Rana had been replaced in twenty eighteen or twenty twenty by someone, the outcome would have been no different. Because at the root of this is not just how you organize the party, it is what you collectively are saying to voters. And what those narratives are.
  • Speaker 2
    0:28:19

    So you’re not gonna overcome a supreme court decision that takes away the right of women to make health decisions for themselves. You’re not gonna overcome a decision by the court to strip voting rights of citizens in the Voting Rights Act. So you’ve got to be able to deal with that as well as what your candidates are putting out there on the ground. So when you have a candidate that stands up and says, elect me and I’m gonna make sure that Donald Trump never loses another election again. Your voters are like, you know what?
  • Speaker 2
    0:28:59

    Pass. In one sense, there’s very little that Rana could do because at that point she had become so beholden and and giving over her power and control to others. The White House Trump forces inside the party, I was not about to have that happen. And I butted heads with the senate leadership with McConnell or a number of occasions with John Bain or a number of occasions because I’m like, I’m your political arm, and I’m the guy who’s gotta go out here and day in and day out and explain the crazy that’s coming off the hill. And if it’s too crazy, I’m not doing that.
  • Speaker 2
    0:29:38

    In fact, I remember I remember Charlie getting pushed back when I said that I wanted to go on the offense on health care, that I wanted to go after Obamacare. I got shot down. And I remember in this one pretty heated meeting, basically telling the leadership, y’all go ahead and think I’m not gonna do this if you want to. And that’s when I went out and then launched the fire Pelosi tour. It’s like, no, I’m gonna do this because I know what’s going on on the ground.
  • Speaker 2
    0:30:07

    And when you lose touch with that, it makes the job of being chairman that much harder, and I think that’s part of a plight. In the end, I think Rana may survive this, I’ve not heard any of the voters that she has secured peeling off of her. She’s apparently picked up the endorsement of a hundred of the hundred and sixty eight members. There’s not any stories that I’ve seen that says she’s lost any or all of that or some of that. So I suspect she will be okay, but you’re beginning to see just how much the rot inside the party has affected every aspects of this party.
  • Speaker 1
    0:30:41

    And the self neutering that you’re you’re seeing in the RNC is parallel by what Kevin McCarthy did do himself. Okay. I know we don’t have much time left, and I promised I was gonna get back to this. So political describes this Biden document story as a belated Christmas gift to the Republicans. I’m afraid that sounds right, so I guess the question is, how damaging is this to Joe Biden.
  • Speaker 1
    0:31:04

    On a scale of one to ten, this is nuclear winter one. It’s a minor scratch that he’ll just shake off. So do you think? How bad is it?
  • Speaker 2
    0:31:13

    I think it’s a four. Okay. There are questions, legitimate questions at the press, and and the people have about timing process? How did you discover? Why?
  • Speaker 2
    0:31:24

    Okay. So you discovered this on November second or so before the election. Why weren’t we told? Yeah. Then there was another discovery in December.
  • Speaker 2
    0:31:31

    Why weren’t we told? And then the discovery a couple of days ago, you tell us about that one. But then at that point, the cat’s out of the bag So they’ve got to explain that timeline. What I figured out in listening to the press secretary yesterday and other officials in the White House, on the president’s team sort of talking about this, is they have been sort of in this kind of caught between these the world of, hey, this is what we know and this is what we did. And it is the what we did portion that the justice department doesn’t want them to get out there and talk about, which is why the timing is off.
  • Speaker 2
    0:32:11

    Once they were notified, they kind of took it over and the administration wants to have clean hands when it comes to not trying to influence the justice department. So I think they’re kinda caught in that space. They’ve gotta clarify that as much as possible. I think it’s a four. Like I said, I think they’re running parallel with the story.
  • Speaker 2
    0:32:30

    They’re not running behind the story at this point, which is good, but they could very easily fall behind on the story. In which case this becomes a six. And if there are any things that sort of pop up that’s leaked out by the special council, this could become an eight real fast.
  • Speaker 1
    0:32:48

    Yeah. I I would I would go along with it. I would say that in terms of substance, it’s probably a three or a four, but in terms of politics and optics — Yep. — it it is it is a seven and that could that could be heading north. Michael Steele, Thank you so much for coming on the podcast on Friday the thirteenth.
  • Speaker 1
    0:33:05

    We really appreciate it. My lucky day to be with you, Charlie. Alright. And thank you all for listening to this weekend’s Bulwark podcast. I’m Charlie Sykes.
  • Speaker 1
    0:33:13

    We will be back on Monday, and we will do this all over again. The Bulwark podcast is produced by Katie Cooper, an engineered and edited by Jason Brown.
  • Speaker 7
    0:33:32

    Former Navy SEAL Sean Ryan shares real stories from real people, from all walks of life. On the Sean Ryan show. Wealth strategist, Rob Luna. If you could
  • Speaker 8
    0:33:43

    solve a problem in this world, better than anyone else, you’re gonna make a lot of money. And that’s really what a business’s ultimate goal is whether it’s your business or a manufacturing business. It’s about solving a problem, making a bigger impact in people’s lives than anyone else on scale. I mean, I’ve been trying to scale my business, but I can’t find somebody that pinned up these interviews. Yeah.
  • Speaker 8
    0:34:02

    The shot
  • Speaker 7
    0:34:03

    right and show on YouTube or wherever you listen.
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