July 8, 2010 at 2:21 pm EDT | by Chris Johnson
Gay GOP group calls on Steele to resign

Gay Republican groups are joining the chorus of conservatives criticizing Republican National Committee Chair Michael Steele for recent comments about operations in Afghanistan.

Steele drew fire from many within his own party after he expressed skepticism regarding operations in Afghanistan during a July 1 fundraiser in Connecticut.

“This was a war of Obama’s choosing,” Steele said. “This is not something the United States has actively prosecuted or wanted to engage in.”

Steele also suggested U.S. efforts in Afghanistan wouldn’t be successful, saying “one thing you don’t do is engage in a land war in Afghanistan … because everyone who’s tried over a thousand years of history has failed.”

Jimmy LaSalvia, executive director of the political group GOProud, said conservatives have “lost all confidence” in Steele and called on the RNC chair to resign.

LaSalvia told the Blade his disappointment with Steele is not simply the result of his Afghanistan remarks but his approach to Republican Party leadership.

“I think that if you look at the totality of his tenure at the RNC, there’s been one thing after another,” LaSalvia said. “This election cycle is just too important to go through with somebody at the helm of the RNC who doesn’t have the confidence of conservatives and members of his party.”

R. Clarke Cooper, executive director of the Log Cabin Republicans and an Iraq war veteran, said Steele’s comments were “unwise and untimely.”

“I would say his comments are unfortunate and disappointing,” he added.

Cooper declined to comment on whether Steele should resign from his position as RNC chair, but said “many people are unhappy with comments, so that’s pretty universal.”

In a statement last week issued by the RNC, Steele clarified his statements, saying “there is no question that America must win the war on terror” and “winning a war in Afghanistan is a difficult task.”

“During the 2008 presidential campaign, Barack Obama made clear his belief that we should not fight in Iraq, but instead concentrate on Afghanistan,” Steele said in a statement. “Now, as president, he has indeed shifted his focus to this region. That means this is his strategy.”

The RNC couldn’t immediately be reached for comment on the criticism from GOProud and Log Cabin.

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson attends the daily White House press briefings and is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

  • Barf for Mr. Steele

    Here we have a Black man working for the republican talibangelicals. The people of the same religious culture that gave us slavery and segregation.

    I always thought Steele, republican or not, was a decent man with whom I disagreed on many items.

    But instead he is letting himself be used by the party of Total Greed and relgiious hatred.

    Shame on you sir, Shame. You should be screaming at the top of your lungs about the evil that has taken over the republican party.

  • I’m not surprised that GOProud would call for Steele’s resignation, considering that GOProud is much farther to the right than the Log Cabin Republicans — despite the utter hatred and contempt that the Religious Right has toward both gay Republican groups. Gay people are to the Religious Right what Jews were to the Nazis.

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