PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Former Chairman of the Republican Party, Michael Steele, defended Donald Trump against accusations from Hillary Clinton that he is racist and criticized the Democratic nominee for President for airing a campaign ad attempting to link Trump to the KKK and white supremacists.
Steele, during an interview with Rich Zeoli on Talk Radio 1210 WPHT, said the media enforces a double standard when discussing race and politics, citing Trump’s charge earlier this week that Clinton is a bigot as an example.
“Everybody seems to be reacting rather nuclearly about it. It seems like you can call a Republican a bigot, people say that makes sense. But the minute you lob the charge back at the Democrats, everybody goes, ‘oh my God, how dare you’? It’s really kind of amusing. Everybody is trying to tie Donald Trump in with these nationalist, racist groups out there who’ve articulated their support Donald Trump. It doesn’t mean Donald Trump supports them or wants their support no more than you have then-Senator Clinton singing the praises of former Ku Klux Klan leader Senator Byrd. It’s always amazed me how they seem to forget their own history.”
He believes the ad Clinton is airing linking Trump to racist groups is out of bounds, even for this unconventional race.
“That ad, by the way, is just horrible. I think it’s incendiary. It’s inappropriate and it really takes the race into the gutter because to associate someone with the Klan, who you know has no relationship with them, and to say the things that they imply in that ad, look, you can a say a lot of things about Donald Trump, but that really, I think, goes a little too far.”
Steele thinks the ad will backfire on the Clinton campaign and damage her more than it damages Trump.
“The reaction by a lot of folks on the left is not very keen on it either. They think it’s a low for the campaign they didn’t need to go to…I think it will have that ultimate effect of backfiring because it goes too far. You have no control over who comes out and supports you when you’re running for office, you just don’t. People go out and say all kinds of things and you just sit there and you’re a captor of that. You’re captured by it. You can’t control it. Then to have someone come back and do a commercial that, sort of, implies that this is your crew, these are the people you roll with and that you support as well, when you know that’s not the case is just boneheaded.”