NRCC Chair Reportedly Says GOP Waged Shutdown Fight To Placate Tea Party

When pressed by Republican donors last month to explain why the party seemed willing to flirt with a government shutdown, Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) reportedly said that the tea party left the GOP with no choice.

The Daily Beast’s David Freedlander reported on the comments by Walden, who serves as chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), which came during a lunch event in New York City.

From Freedlander’s report:

Why, they asked, did the GOP seem so in the thrall of its most extremist wing? The donors, banker types who occupy the upper reaches of Wall Street’s towers, couldn’t understand why the Republican Party—their party—seemed close to threatening the nation with a government shutdown, never mind a default if the debt ceiling isn’t raised later this month.

“Listen,” Walden said, according to several people present. “We have to do this because of the Tea Party. If we don’t, these guys are going to get primaried and they are going to lose their primary.”

Walden then credited the tea party for its involvement in grassroots efforts.

“I hear this complaint all the time,” Walden reportedly said. “But no one gets involved at the local level. The Tea Party gets involved at the local level.”

The NRCC disputed Walden’s quote, prompting Freedlander to add a note in the body of his piece. NRCC spokeswoman Andrea Bozek told TPM that Walden never mentioned the tea party during his remarks.

Freedlander made clear to TPM in an email that he was not running a correction.

“Although NRCC did not previously dispute the account laid out in the story, they are now, and the story has been updated to reflect that,” he wrote.

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