Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) reiterated Friday that he supports
Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele in the wake of a
donor scandal at the party.
Pawlenty, who is expected to seek the
GOP nomination for president in 2012, said that Steele has "taken
responsibility" for the party's decision to reimburse donors who held an
event at a bondage-themed nightclub in Los Angeles.
"It's a terrible incident, a stupid thing. There's people involved with really bad judgment and they did not have the controls in place to catch it and to flag it. So he has to take responsibility for that," he said on NBC's "Today" show. "They've done that, they have fired the employee. So I hope that they have learned from this. It's something that should not have happened on Michael's watch. But he's taken responsibility for it, hopefully they can improve and continue on. And I believe they will."
Asked if Steele still enjoys his support, Pawlenty said "Yeah, he does."
decision to back Steele is unsurprising for someone in his political
position, but stands in contrast with other Republicans.
lawmakers have not explicitly called for Steele's resignation, but have
harshly criticized him for allowing the incident to happen under his
watch. Some GOPers have expressed frustration with Steele because of his
penchant to make verbal gaffes and what they perceive as the party's
Other conservatives and Republicans have called
for Steele's resignation and some have said they will cease donations
to the RNC.
The party has said the reimbursements should not
have been made and has fired the employee who authorized it.
Cross-posted to the Briefing Room.