Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele has come under intense pressure from his own party in recent days over comments he made last week suggesting that the war in Afghanistan was un-winnable. The latest gaffe prompted fresh speculation that he would resign or be forced out, and “Steele spent the weekend calling key RNC members to control the damage.” This morning, the Swamp reported that Steele had canceled an appearance at the Aspen Ideas Festival just days before he was scheduled to speak. Aspen Institute Communications Director Jim Spiegelman confirmed in an email exchange with ThinkProgress that Steele had canceled the appearance — which was scheduled for Thursday — and said Steele had provided “[n]o explanation whatsoever”:
SPIEGELMAN: Michael Steele was a confirmed speaker at this week’s Aspen Ideas Festival but cancelled this morning. [...]
TP: Did Steele provide any reason for his sudden cancellation?
SPIEGELMAN: No explanation whatsoever. And we’re simply too busy managing our festival to learn what the reason was.
The AP reported this afternoon that Steele said he will stay put at the RNC, but the reason for his Aspen cancellation remains unclear. ThinkProgress contacted the RNC for an explanation, but they did not reply.