Former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele blasted successor Reince Priebus on Monday, saying the current chairman is to blame for the party’s electoral struggles.
Steele said Republicans won elections when he headed the RNC, but under Preibus the party has lost House and Senate seats and saw President Obama win reelection.
Priebus earlier on Monday in a speech at the National Press Club criticized Steele’s stewardship of the RNS, saying the organization’s credit cards were “suspended” under Steele because of his lavish spending.
The RNC went into debt under Steele, who earned negative headlines when it was reported the RNC spent $2,000 in February 2010 at a Los Angeles bondage club.
Steele, who lost the chairmanship to Priebus in 2011, defended his tenure Monday on MSNBC, and said Priebus wasn’t complaining at the time.
“Priebus wasn’t complaining about debt or concerned about debt when I was writing checks to Wisconsin when he was chairman and wanted to win the state legislature, which they did, win the governorship, which they did,” Steele responded. “At the end of the day all of the members were on board with going into debt to win.”
Steele pointed out that he was ousted shortly after Republicans posted massive gains in the 2010 election cycle. While the RNC had a surplus at the end of the 2012 cycle, he argued Priebus was less successful in the elections.
“The RNC had a surplus, they had money in the bank s at the end of the 2012 cycle, but they had nothing to show for it,” Steele continued. “You lose eight House seats, you don’t win the White House, when you should. That to me is enough evidence of what’s wrong.”
The RNC on Monday issued a scathing report on the party’s recent electoral failures, determining that “drastic changes to almost every major element of the modern Republican Party” are necessary if the GOP hopes to remain competitive.
Priebus outlined a 219-point plan aimed at revamping the party’s image, electoral strategy and policy emphasis.
“The fact of the matter is, this isn’t an autopsy, this is an examination of what you did wrong,” Steele said. “Where your leadership failed, and how you get back on winning again after we had unprecedented wins in 2009 and 2010.”