Steele’s abortion comments anger fellow Republicans
In an interview with GQ magazine, the Republican National Committee chairman described abortion as an “individual choice” and said individual states should decide its legality.
Those comments, predictably, have drawn a sharp rebuke from other Republican leaders who say he should stick to the party’s core position that abortion should be outlawed nationwide.
“Chairman Steele, as the leader of America’s pro-life conservative party, needs to re-read the Bible, the U.S. Constitution, and the 2008 GOP Platform. He then needs to get to work — or get out of the way,” said former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, a former rival for the RNC job.
Mike Huckabee called Steele’s remarks troubling. “For Chairman Steele to even infer that taking a life is totally left up to the individual is not only a reversal of Republican policy and principle, but it’s a violation of the most basic of human rights,” the former Arkansas governor and presidential candidate said on his blog.
Steele was widely praised as an eloquent speaker when he was elected as chairman of the Republican Party at the end of January. But since then, he’s spent plenty of time apologizing for off-hand comments that have angered many in the party and prompted some to suggest that he should resign.
In a statement sent out Thursday, Steele said he has always opposed abortion and said the Supreme Court decision that made it legal should be repealed. “The Republican Party is and will continue to be the party of life,” he said.
Also on Thursday, Steele named Rhode Island lawyer Ken McKay as his chief of staff to oversee the committee’s day-to-day operations. McKay managed the 2002 and 2006 campaigns of that state’s governor, Donald Carcieri, and served as his chief of staff.
The appointment sends a message to those who have called for Steele’s resignation: he doesn’t plan to go anywhere for a while.
photo credit: REUTERS/Molly Riley (Steele speaks after being elected Republican National Committee chairman in Washington, January 30)