Republican National Committeeman Dave Agema, who has been criticized for his homophobic and anti-Muslim remarks, believes the GOP is being held hostage to “big money” donors who are following the “Devil’s way.”
Multiple U.S. representatives and members of the Republican Party called on Agema to resign earlier this year. RNC Chairman Reince Priebus did not ask Agema to resign, but said that the Michigan Republican’s remarks are “patently wrong, lack merit and are devoid of any meaningful value.”
Agema spoke about his colleagues’ calls for his resignation at an early February event at the American Decency Association, which was captured on video and posted to YouTube on Monday.
“What happens is big money and big power goes to individuals and says you will come against Dave or I’m going to make sure you don’t get any money. I got that right from Reince Priebus’ mouth. That’s what happened to him. They threatened to take several hundred thousand dollars out of the RNC unless they came out against me,” he said at the event. “This is the Devil’s way—and this is the Democrats’ way—to split the party.”
Agema said he would not step down because it would only hurt the GOP.
“I don’t feel—if I capitulate to this, everybody else is going to capitulate to this,” he said. “Then my wife said, ‘You’re too good for this, Dave. Let’s just call it quits and get out of here because we don’t need this hassle.’ We got home and people started calling us and saying, ‘Please do not capitulate to this because then our party is going to go off in the wrong direction even further.'”
Agema also defended the anti-Muslim article he posted to his Facebook in January, which asked, “Have you ever seen a Muslim do anything that contributes positively to the American way of life?”
“That’s the one they’re hammering me on, and probably rightfully so to a certain extent, because we’ve got doctors, lawyers and dentists that are there now,” Agema said about the article. “I don’t want to paint with that broad brush, saying they’re all evil. They’re not. There are some good Muslims that come here to get away.”
Agema also spoke about Thomas Jefferson’s push to form a navy to fight the Barbary states in northern Africa. Agema said Jefferson made copies of the Quran to teach people about “the Muslims” from the region.
“Jefferson … made 200 copies of the Koran so people could read it to see what a barbarous people we’re dealing with,” Agema said.