CORONADO, Calif. (AP/WOOD) — The Republican National Committee’s executive committee voted Wednesday to censure Michigan Republican Dave Agema and seek his resignation after he linked to a racist article from Facebook.
At the outset of the RNC‘s winter meeting near San Diego, Chairman Reince Preibus said the committeeman’s “history of harmful and offensive rhetoric” has no place in the party.
The committee also called for Michigan Republicans to explore disciplining Agema.
Agema refused to resign a year ago after criticizing Muslims and gays. The article Agema recently shared includes a purported public defender saying blacks are different and can’t “control their impulses as well.”
Agema’s detractors say he must go. Preibus says the executive committee used “all available tools” to remove him.
The RNC can’t dismiss Agema outright. It urged the Michigan Republic Party to “explore disciplinary options.”
MRP Chair Bobby Schostak, who is an RNC executive committee member, released a statement supporting the RNC’s censure of Agema and hoping that he would step down voluntarily.
“It is clear that Michigan’s current Republican National Committeeman is not an effective party leader or representative, and has demonstrated an inability or unwillingness to change his behavior,” Schostak said in the statement. “My position remains unchanged from a year ago, I hope Mr. Agema will voluntarily resign, but if he does not, the Michigan Republican Party will continue exploring all possibilities to address his actions.”
Agema, of Grandville, says he isn’t racist and doesn’t support the article’s contents.
Tuesday, Republicans from Oakland County sent a letter to the RNC, asking them to “declare Mr. Agema persona non grata.” Other Michigan Republicans — including Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof — also made their disapproval of Agema known on social media.
A Wednesday statement from Priebus:
“Dave 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. 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.
“It is important that we lead by example. Over the past couple years, we have worked to engage more Americans, including minority communities where we hadn’t been in too long. We have to be a party that welcomes people and engages voters of all backgrounds, and we cannot allow one man’s fringe views to undermine the work that is ahead of us. I want to speak clearly that we are a party that works to expand opportunity for all Americans. “