Michael Steele, the former chairman of the Republican National Committee, sharply criticized President Donald Trump’s supporters on Wednesday night for their continued loyalty even as the US death toll from coronavirus nears 200,000.
“I’m exhausted, I’m exasperated … The fact that we have to literally beg people to wear a mask to save their own dumb a** from getting sick? I’m sorry. To me, it is beyond the imagination,” Steele, who recently joined the anti-Trump group Lincoln Project, said on MSNBC.
“And yet 40% of the country looks at it and goes, ‘Yeah, I’m with stupid.’ So, look, America, at this point, you have a stark choice. In the face of everything that is going on. I don’t know what more you can take before you say you’ve had enough. Because my heavens, this is too much for a country to go through.”
Steele was responding to Trump’s public dispute of US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Robert Redfield’s suggestions urging Americans to wear masks and prediction that the US won’t return “to our regular life” for months. Trump has championed the arrival of a vaccine around the upcoming presidential election as he urges the country to return to its pre-pandemic life.
The President told reporters Redfield was “confused” when he made his remarks and called it “incorrect information.”
“This President stands at a podium today and not only contradicts his CDC director, but basically says he perjured himself under oath before Congress because he is saying something different than Donald Trump,” Steele said. “The CDC director is telling us the truth. Donald Trump is literally lying to us.”
“I am just so exhausted with this President, at this point. … We all knew this was coming and yet this administration has done jack about it,” Steele said.
Since leaving his position as RNC chair in 2011, Steele has evolved into one of Trump’s most prominent Republican critics.
When Trump expressed frustration behind closed doors with people coming to the US from “sh*thole countries,” Steele called it racist. In April, he said: “America, in some respects, has been abused by this President.” And in June, he asserted that Trump does not believe America’s ideals.