With his rise in popularity Donald Trump has now started to have to defend himself against Republicans who think that his focus on the birther issue is going to hurt the party. This includes Karl Rove, who recently called Trump a “joke candidate.”
Now you can add former RNC chairman Michael Steele, who appeared on Hardball last night and dismissed the birther issue as “silly,” to that list.
“Rank and file Republicans don’t give a rat’s giblet let about the birther issue.”
When Chris Matthews brought up a poll saying that over 50% of Republicans were birthers, Steele dismissed it as not being indicative of the entire party.
“I’m a realist about what the polls represent and I’m not going to extrapolate from one poll that shows 51% of any number, good, bad or indifferent and say that that represents everybody.”
“The view of the issue, I think, boils down on to this. America right now is on a collision course with its future. Whether or not we’re really going to be substantive about the debt and deficits that we face or are we going to play here on the playground with each other on silly issues.”
Steele did not completely write Trump off as a viable candidate, calling him “exciting” and giving him credit for “driving a discussion that animates people” but he recommended that Trump drop the birther issue already.
“I agree with Karl, let it go. Now focus people’s attention on the real thing.”