Steele: Harry Reid should step down from leadership role for 'Negro' remark

Steele: Harry Reid should step down from leadership role for 'Negro' remark

The chairman of the Republican National Committee called Sunday for Sen. Harry ReidHarry ReidHopes rise for law to expand access to experimental drugs If Gorsuch pick leads to 'crisis,' Dems should look in mirror first Senate confirms Mulvaney to be Trump’s budget chief MORE (D-Nev.) to step down as Majority Leader in the wake of revelations that he used the term "Negro" when discussing President Barack ObamaBarack ObamaNY attorney general: Transgender students to be protected despite withdrawal of Obama regulations Tillerson buys .6M home blocks from Obamas, Ivanka Trump: report Trump: We will clean up the budget MORE's 2008 candidacy.

"I think he should, if the standard is the one set by [Trent Lott]," Steele said on "Fox News Sunday" when asked if Reid should resign his post.

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Trent Lott resigned his post as Majority Leader in 2002 after praising Strom Thurmond's 1948 presidential candidacy during a birthday celebration for the 100-year-old South Carolinian.

Mark Halperin and John Heliemann report in their new book, "Game Change," that Reid said during the campaign he thought Obama could win because, while black, he was "light-skinned" and lacked a "Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one."

At the same time, Steele tried to deflect criticism about an alleged racial slur of his own.

Steele said he was sorry if he offended anyone when he used the term "honest Injun" in an interview last week.

The RNC chairman implied that he did not know the term was offensive.

"if it is, i apologize. It was not indended to be a racial slur," he said.

Meanwhile, Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim KaineTim KaineKaine discusses refugee crisis with Pope Francis during Vatican visit A guide to the committees: Senate Mattis on rise in Trump administration MORE said the flap over Reid's comments would not lead to the Majority Leader's ouster from his post.

Kaine pointed out that the comments came in the context of praising Obama's candidacy and that Reid had apologized quickly.

"I don't think this is an issue that's going to affect his leadership at all," Kaine said.

"I deeply regret using such a poor choice of words. I sincerely apologize for offending any and all Americans, especially African Americans for my improper comments," Reid said Saturday in a statement. "I was a proud and enthusiastic supporter of Barack Obama during the campaign and have worked as hard as I can to advance Pres. Obama's legislative agenda."

The White House quickly accepted Reid's apology.


"Harry Reid called me today and apologized for an unfortunate comment reported today," Obama said in a statement. "I accepted Harry's apology without question because I've known him for years, I've seen the passionate leadership he's shown on issues of social justice and I know what's in his heart.  As far as I am concerned, the book is closed."

Addressing calls for his own ouster as RNC chairman after a week of gaffes and controversy, Steele said he would not be forced out.

"No, absolutely not. Why should I? I'm pushing the ball. I'm winning elections; I'm raising money," he said.

In addition to the gaffe of the "honest Injun" remark, Steele predicted this week that Republicans would not take back the House in 2010.

He also lashed out at Republican critics, telling them to either "fire me" or "shut up."

Steele acknowledged this morning that he was "hot-headed" and "passionate" but said there was no need for him to resign.

The chairman also attempted to tamp down some of the controversy surrounding his book. Congressional Republicans said this week they had no idea Steele was writing a book until they saw him promoting it on TV.

Steele apologized for not keeping GOP leaders in the loop. He said the book was written in 2008, but delayed for publication and later updated.