Ex-RNC Head Steele Rips Cruz, Bannon Over War-Like Rhetoric in CPAC Speech

Senator Ted Cruz and former Trump adviser Steve Bannon were criticized on Sunday by Michael Steele, former head of the Republican National Convention (RNC), over war-like comments the two made over the weekend.

Cruz and Bannon spoke at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Dallas on Saturday, with both delivering speeches many viewed as war-like and eager to incite violence. Bannon in his speech said that conservatives "are at war" with the Left, while Cruz said conservatives have to "go fight the barbarians."

"It's like the old Roman Colosseum where you slam on a breastplate and you grab a battle ax and you go fight the barbarians," the Texas senator said. "As they say in the military world, it is a target-rich environment."

michael steele ted cruz CPAC
Senator Ted Cruz and former Trump adviser Steve Bannon were criticized on Sunday by Michael Steele, former head of the Republican National Convention (RNC), over war-like comments the two made over the weekend. Above, a shot of Steele in 2011. Alex Wong/Getty Images

Steele, who served as RNC chairman from 2009 to 2011, appeared on MSNBC's The Katie Phang Show on Sunday where he was critical of the comments made by Republican leaders at CPAC.

"It is more fascism than farce," he said. "It is more concern than conservatism and it really is about how we as a citizen respond to this. How we push back against it. We are not opponents of each other, we disagree from time-to-time on big and small issues, but our first inclination as Americans is not to go and beat the crap out of the neighbor just because they have a yard sign that we don't like."

Steele went on to criticize Cruz for focusing on rhetoric over helping his home state of Texas, and accused the senator of caring more about projecting a strong image.

"Just sit the hell down, please. Stop it," Steele continued. "You're not serving the people of Texas, you haven't done that since you have been there, the reality of it is. But you find the grift, you find the hot rhetoric, you make yourself seem like you are the big man on campus and you get things done. But that is not what this is about, this is not about getting things done."

In his speech, Bannon called for the GOP to send "shock troops" to Washington, D.C., and called on the crowd to "shatter the Democratic Party as a national political institution." Touching on more right-wing buzzwords, Bannon accused the Democratic Party of being overrun with "radical, cultural Marxists" and "groomers" bent on destroying the country.

Newsweek reached out to Cruz's office for comment.