Former RNC Chair Michael Steele said Trump’s focus on “nonsensical” issues like birtherism was “nothing more than bullshit racism — excuse my French.”
Appearing on David Axelrod’s podcast “The Axe Files,” Steele, whose reign as RNC chair was marred by lackluster fundraising and his own foibles, didn’t hold back when it came to Trump and race.
“You cannot say to me that given the 400 plus years of this country, that at the very moment the country decides to elect the first Black man president of the United States, you going to ask for his papers? Seriously? Seriously?” said Steele. “I can go all day long about what’s wrong with Syria and economic policy and foreign policy with this administration. But I’ll be damned if I’m going to sit here and say ‘You need to show me your papers first.’ That’s not how this works.”
Steele was Republican National Committee chairman from 2009 to 2011 and is now a political analyst for MSNBC. On the podcast, Steele and Axelrod talked about the way Trump’s candidacy has exposed fractures in the Republican Party.
“Ronald Reagan, if he were a candidate running for any office today, would not win a Republican primary,” Steele told Axelrod. “Because the things that he would espouse, the policies, the values, the principles that he would lay out there, would be rejected,” Steele said, alleging that Reagan’s comparatively moderate position on taxes and immigration would now be rejected by hard-line Republican conservatives.
“The Axe Files” podcast is produced by the University of Chicago Institute of Politics and CNN.