RNC Chair Calls on Michigan GOP Official to Resign Over Anti-Gay Remarks

by Steve Peoples

Associated Press

Friday January 24, 2014

The chairman of the Republican National Committee has called for the resignation of a Michigan GOP official who made anti-gay and anti-Muslim remarks.

RNC Chairman Reince Priebus and Michigan party chairman Bobby Schostak on Friday called for Dave Agema to step down as Michigan's representative to the Republican National Committee.

"For the good of the party, we believe Dave Agema should resign," Preibus and Schostak said in a joint statement.

Last March, Agema posted an article on Facebook with an unsubstantiated claim that gays account for half the murders in large cities. In December, he told Berrien County Republicans that his experience as an American Airlines pilot made him familiar with efforts by gays to get health insurance coverage because of the ravages of AIDS.

He also came under fire from the Council on American-Islamic Relations for a Facebook posting this month questioning Muslims' commitment to charity.

A number of leading Democrats and several Republican members of Michigan's congressional delegation already have called on him to resign.

The controversy comes as Republican officials from across the country gathered in Washington for the RNC's winter meeting. GOP leaders are particularly focused on broadening the party's appeal to younger voters and minorities.

Agema did not attend the Washington meeting and was not immediately available for comment. In a recent statement, he said his "liberal critics" would use his attendance as an excuse "for a drawn-out fight between liberals and conservatives within the party."

GOP Senate candidate Terri Lynn Land from Michigan on Friday declined to comment when asked about Agema. Land had expressed disagreement with Agema but had not asked him publicly to step down.

Republican strategist Dennis Lennox, a leader in the coalition to push Agema out, said Priebus' action "sends the message that Republicans have learned their lesson on tone and messaging."

"The last thing Republicans need to be talking about is KKK rhetoric," Lennox said.

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