CPAC chief doubles down on racial comments about Michael Steele in combative MSNBC interview

The head of the Conservative Political Action Conference on Thursday doubled down on his criticism of former RNC chief Michael Steele, accusing him of having a lack of grace.

MSNBC host Hallie Jackson asked American Conservative Union chairman Matt Schlapp whether CPAC communications director Ian Walters had been reprimanded for saying that Steele was picked as RNC chairman because "he was a black guy."

"Absolutely not," Schlapp replied, saying he agreed with Walters that the GOP had been too "cynical" in its approach to minorities. "He has a right to speak on these issues."

Jackson noted that Steele and Schlapp had gotten into a heated exchange about the comments, after Schlapp had apologized for them.

"You said he should have some grace," she said. "Do you regret any of that?"

Schlapp claimed that Walters had quickly called Steele to apologize, but that Steele had refused to accept it. "I think that shows a lack of grace," he remarked.

"Things get said in a heated political conversation and at the end, we have to be able to continue to be friends. I don't like the fact that we're divided."

"But I'll tell you one thing, I think what Ian's point of view is valid and I think there are a lot of people of color who are conservatives who believe that the Republican Party gets this wrong a lot and it is okay to talk about it," Schlapp said.

Jackson said she was asking Schlapp about his particular positions. "You have not answered," she told him. "So let me end on this, do you regret telling Michael Steele he should have some grace?"

"I think he should have grace, and we all should have grace," Schlapp replied.

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