RNC Spokesman: Chief of Staff Was Really Criticizing 'Consultants Whose Only Goal Is to Make Money'
Late Friday, RNC Director of Communications Sean Spicer told Breitbart News that RNC Chief of Staff Mike Shields's remarks on Tuesday that have been viewed by some as critical of the conservative grassroots were really directed at "consultants whose only goal is to make money versus the grassroots."
In his comments on Tuesday, Breitbart News reported that "[a]ccording to our source, Shields stated that he is totally eager and willing to remove 'the professional right' from the GOP. 'They won’t come to us and ask. They just send out lies and ask for money. I have to tear up mailings at my own parents’ house and tell them which emails to delete,' he said, according to the source."
On Friday, Spicer offered this initial clarification of those comments:
"Mike was attempting to reference the beltway professionals whose focus is solely to make a profit off the party and movement and don’t share the same desire to win and enact conservative policies. . . he was trying – albeit somewhat in artfully – to make a clear distinction between the inside the beltway professionals and the thousands of conservative grassroots activists like his mom that give of their time and treasure to elect conservatives."
Late Friday, Spicer offered further clarification, telling Breitbart News that "the statement [issued earlier on Friday] said he was attempting to make a clear distinction between 'inside the beltway professionals' and the grassroots."
Spicer also took exception to the Breitbart News characterization that "Shields's criticisms of 'the professional right' on Tuesday, however, seemed to be aimed at organizations such as FreedomWorks and Tea Party Patriots, who have ties to local conservatives grassroots activists and frequently send fundraising appeals to their large mailing lists of supporters."
"How can a group be a 'beltway professional'?" Spicer asked. "[A]nd further," he said, "how can Tea Party Patriots from Georgia be an 'inside the beltway' [group]?"
On Tuesday, Shields promised the crowd of 40 listening to his remarks at the Capitol Hill Club in Washington that "[professional right] is a term I'll be using often in the coming months." When reminded that the term for the group Shields criticized on Tuesday was not "beltway professionals," but was instead the "professional right," Spicer stated that Shields's initial remarks were actually aimed at "consultants whose only goal is to make money versus the grassroots ."