This post has been updated.
Rep. Candice Miller (R-MI) on Tuesday evening called on Michigan Republican National Committeeman Dave Agema to step down after he made numerous anti-gay and anti-Muslim comments, becoming the third member of Congress to do so this week.
“Those who seek to be leaders must strive to be inclusive and respectful of others,” she said in a statement obtained by the Detroit News. “Anyone who presents themselves as a leader who takes the path of division or exclusion is not following the examples of Lincoln and Reagan and is not worthy of any position of leadership. Dave Agema has failed this test and should resign.”
Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) on Tuesday said that Agema should resign, calling his comments a “distraction” for a GOP looking to broaden its base.
Agema last year compared being gay to alcoholism and claimed that gay people desire free health care because they have AIDS.
In January he shared a comment on his Facebook page asking, “Have you ever seen a Muslim do anything that contributes positively to the American way of life?”
Other prominent Michigan Republicans have either condemned Agema’s remarks or called on him to resign.
RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said that some of Agema’s comments are “patently wrong, lack merit and are devoid of any meaningful value,” but he has not publicly asked the committeeman to step down.
Agema will be in Washington, D.C. starting on Wednesday for the RNC’s winter meeting.
Reps. David Camp (R-MI) and Dan Benishek (R-MI) both criticized Agema’s remarks, but did not call on him to resign.
Camp told 6 News on Tuesday that Agema’s comments don’t “have any place in public discourse right now.”
Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI) also denounced the committeeman’s comments, but did not ask that he step down.
“Dave Agema’s derogatory comments do not reflect the tolerance and civility of the Republican party I support and know. The party committeeman has a responsibility to uphold civil discourse,” he said in a statement to TPM.
Benishek spokesman Kyle Bonini told TPM Wednesday that, “Dr. Benishek believes we must always strive to treat everyone with kindness and respect and that any sort of discriminatory comments are unacceptable.”
Matt Chisholm, communications director for Rep. Kerry Bentivolio (R-MI) said that the representative would not like to weigh in on Agema’s comments.
“Congressman Bentivolio is focused on solving Washington’s debt and spending problem, not a media inspired inner party saga,” Chisholm told TPM in an email Wednesday.
Agema in a Sunday Facebook post defended some of his comments online, stating that he sometimes posts articles to “encourage discourse” even if he does not endorse the position, but he has not otherwise defended his anti-gay and anti-Muslim remarks.
Agema and the Michigan Republican Party were not immediately available for comment.