Dave Agema, the former Michigan state legislator and current Republican National Committee member with a long history of bigotry and stupidity, may finally have met his Waterloo. Some of his fellow RNC members are trying to find a way to kick him out over it while the committee’s winter meetings are going on.
There’s an elephant in the room as the Republican National Committee prepares for its annual winter meeting in San Diego this week—one that could undercut the group’s minority-outreach message and instead saddle the GOP with another racially charged crisis.
In a New Year’s Eve Facebook post, Michigan RNC Committeeman Dave Agema republished an essay from American Renaissance, a white-supremacist newsletter. The article, which Agema said he found “very enlightening,” argued that “blacks are different by almost any measure to all other people. They cannot reason as well. They cannot communicate as well. They cannot control their impulses as well. They are a threat to all who cross their paths, black and non-black alike.”
Agema has since deleted the Facebook post, but refuses to apologize—or to resign from the GOP’s governing body…
The latest incident sparked fresh calls for Agema’s resignation—and others want him forcibly ejected from the committee. The RNC’s bylaws don’t specifically govern the removal of members, but some committee officials think Agema’s latest infraction is deserving of unprecedented punishment.
Virginia GOP Chairman Pat Mullins is circulating a letter to RNC colleagues recommending that Agema be expelled from the meeting in San Diego and then permanently removed from the RNC, National Journal has learned.
It’s unclear at this point whether Mullins’s proposal is permissible or whether it would have the requisite support for approval. Priebus issued a statement Tuesday that simply reiterated his desire for Agema to step down. “I’ve previously called for Dave Agema to resign and my position remains the same, he should step aside,” Priebus said. “The tone and rhetoric from Agema is consistently offensive and has no place in politics or any rational conversation.”
A group of Oakland County Republicans in the Michigan Legislature are asking national committee members to “end our party’s long nightmare” by ousting Dave Agema, and others are calling on him to resign.
“While we are disappointed it has come down to this, we believe this course of action is the only way to stop Mr. Agema’s hateful rhetoric from further tarnishing our party,” reads a letter to the Republican National Committee signed by Sen. Mike Kowall of White Lake, Sen. Jim Marleau of Lake Orion and Rep. Jim Tedder of Clarkston.
“We urge RNC members, our colleagues and like-minded Michiganders to join us in stepping up and acknowledging that enough is enough.
Will this be enough to force him out? Time will tell.
Update: The RNC voted to censure Agema and are also demanding his resignation, though it isn’t clear that they have the ability to force him to do so:
The Republican National Committee’s top officers formally censured Michigan member Dave Agema today for what they called “harmful rhetoric” and demanded his resignation.
National Party Chairman Reince Priebus announced the censure of Agema, a former state representative from Grandville, who has been roundly criticized for remarks and posts on social media considered insensitive to gays, Muslims and blacks.
“Agema’s history of harmful and offensive rhetoric has no place in our party, which is why the RNC Executive Committee acted in the swiftest way possible to avoid giving him a platform,” Priebus said tonight as the RNC’s Winter Meeting was set to get under way outside San Diego.
“We have voted to censure him and we are urging the Michigan GOP and their voters to explore options to discipline Agema for his actions. Today, we used all available tools to remove him from the committee.”
He was elected to his current RNC term with about 70% of the votes of Michigan Republicans.