‘We’re almost terrorized …. “Shut up. Toe the line,”’ committeeman tells Republican colleagues in a closed-door meeting.
Ed. Note: No question about it, Donald Trump has the nation talking. This is especially true among “establishment Republicans.” It seems they don’t know whether to embrace “The Donald” or to ostracize him. Leaked information from a closed-door session of the RNC shows at least one RNC committeeman has decided.
Republished from Politico.com, by Alex Isenstadt, January 15, 2016. Image credit: Louis Lucas
CHARLESTON, S.C.—A Republican National committeeman delivered a call-to-arms against Donald Trump during a closed-door GOP meeting on Thursday, urging his colleagues to take a forceful stand against those who he said are destroying the party’s brand.
At a breakfast at the RNC winter meeting, Holland Redfield, an RNC committeeman who represents the minority-rich Virgin Islands, rose to address party Chairman Reince Priebus. In the five-minute impromptu speech, a video recording of which Redfield provided to POLITICO, Redfield did not explicitly mention Trump’s name. But he made clear that angry voices in the party pose a grave threat to the GOP’s future, and expressed alarm at what he described as crushing pressure to play nice.
“You can argue with me, but we’re almost terrorized as members of our party. ‘Shut up. Toe the line, embrace each other, and let’s go forward.’ I understand that. But there is a limit to loyalty. I am loyal to this party by speaking out on these very issues,” he said at the private breakfast meeting.
At one point, Redfield essentially argued that those in the room have been held hostage by Trump’s threat to run as a third-party candidate if the party hierarchy treats him unfairly.
“As a party, we owe it to ourselves to speak up, and not let the tail wag the dog, and not let someone say, all of a sudden, ‘If you don’t play my game, then I’m running as an independent.”
Redfield went on to lament “the tenor of the discussion amongst these candidates reducing our label,” and “the disrespect in many cases for ethnic minorities in the United States, but also religious factions in the United States. We have to draw the line. Because sooner or later, somebody has to pick up the pieces.”
“You’ve got a situation here,” he added, “that when someone is listening to this, either a conservative or a Democrat, or a Republican, or an independent, there are things that are said on that stage and in the media, that if your child was doing that, you’d put that child over your knee and spank them. You know it, and I know it.”
The RNC meeting comes at a time of widespread consternation in the highest ranks of the party, with many officials wrestling with the question of whether to rally against Trump. While many attending this week’s meeting expressed profound discomfort with the idea of Trump being the party’s nominee, others said it was incumbent upon them to unite around the eventual nominee — no matter who it is. “Please rally around whoever happens to be our nominee,” Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal told RNC members at a Thursday lunch.
In the clip, Redfield, who supported George W. Bush’s campaign in 2000, speaks uninterrupted, arguing gridlock and the two-party system have produced massive discontent within the electorate — paving the way for an angry candidate to gain traction. “We have certain candidates who are sucking it up and changing our label,” he says.
Priebus’ response is not shown. An RNC spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment.
In a brief telephone interview on Thursday evening, as he sat in the debate hall, Redfield said he had received a warm response from fellow members. He said that he had felt compelled to speak and address the chairman, whom he praised. “I said it because it needed to be said.”
At one point, Redfield acknowledges the visceral anger that Trump, with his tell-it-like-it-is style, has tapped into — but warns that letting anger consume the party would prove costly. “You always hear the argument, ‘Well, this is what people are thinking.’ So, if this is what people are thinking in this party, as far as I’m concerned, we’re going in the wrong direction,” he says.
Redfield notes that the area he represents has a large minority population. If the party wished to appeal to them, he argued, it would need to monitor its rhetoric.
“Can you imagine running someone on the Republican ticket and winning such areas?” he asks. “A good politician is pragmatic — they have to be to succeed.”
This content is published under the Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. Please honor attribution.