Citing Rand Paul’s victory in the GOP Kentucky Senate primary against establishment choice Trey Grayson last night, Neil Cavuto asked RNC Chairman Michael Steele today about “dysfunction in the Republican Party” as the GOP establishment clashes with the Tea Party. Steele denied tension, saying he told the Tea Party in Kentucky that “if we have a situation where your guy prevails, we’re backing that candidate, we’re very much looking to supporting Rand and if our guy prevails, we’d like the same support.”
Cavuto responded that Tea Partiers had told him that they view the GOP establishment negatively, leading Steele to reply, “I’m telling you as the national chairman of the party there’s no bad blood between the Republican National Committee and the Tea Parties.” Cavuto persisted, however, in claiming that there was tension between the “establishment” and the Tea Party. Steele responded by saying that he didn’t even know who the Republican establishment is, leading Cavuto to note that Steele is the establishment:
CAVUTO: Michael, the Tea Partiers didn’t like Senator Bennett.
STEELE: That’s fine.
CAVUTO: Fairly or not, they didn’t like him. The established Republican Party did.
STEELE: Ok, that may be. But wait a minute.
CAVUTO: I’m just saying that for you to say there is no angst between the two…
STEELE: Neil, don’t mix. Please stop.
CAVUTO: There clearly is.
STEELE: Please do not mix the Republican Party establishment, I don’t know who that is, by the way.
CAVUTO: You, you, you!
STEELE: With activists, I, no…
CAVUTO: You, you, you, you, you.
STEELE: Neil, have you been reading my press lately, I don’t think the last thing you could say about me is that I’m part of the establishment.
CAVUTO: Well, that’s true because everybody hates you. I’m kidding.
Steele hasn’t always been so confused about the fact that he is part of the Republican establishment. In fact, in an interview with Cavuto earlier this year, Steele explained how he was part of the establishment and not the Tea Party. “As I like to tell people — long before there was this big push on tea parties — if I wasn’t doing this job, I’d be out there with the tea partiers,” said Steele. Steele has also said that he is “the de facto leader of the Republican Party.”