July 20, 1997 in Nation/World

Rnc Calls For End To Infighting Delegates Request Summit; Dunn Deplores Gop Squabbles

Associated Press

Republican National Committee delegates are asking GOP congressional leaders and governors to meet and find a way to redirect the party’s energy from self-destructive infighting to public policy.

Delegates to the RNC’s summer meeting requested the meeting in response to turmoil among party leaders in Washington after news reports of a move to unseat House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

The activity, played down by several of the reported participants, became even more public Saturday with comments by Rep. Jennifer Dunn, R-Wash., a Gingrich loyalist, that most of the party faithful are aghast over what’s going on.

“I think what’s been happening lately is appalling to a huge majority of us in the Republican conference,” Dunn said on CNN’s “Inside Politics Weekend.” “We want to be able to get this sort of child’s play behind us.”

Dunn moved up last week to the fifth-ranking position in the GOP House leadership in a party election that heightened the melodrama among party chiefs.

New York Rep. Bill Paxon resigned as chairman of the House leadership - a position created for him last winter by Gingrich - after allegations that he had been involved in an attempt to oust the speaker.

Dunn said that rather than doing the business of Congress, “What we’re doing instead is we’re allowing front-page headlines to say, ‘Republicans in Disarray.’ I believe we ought to get this behind us, get on with what we’re about and serve the people.”

At the RNC meeting, Michigan Gov. John Engler suggested the governors-lawmakers meeting.

“I’m one of the Republicans who are a little bit frustrated right now because we seem to be spending more time reading stories about the palace intrigues than we are focusing on the national agenda,” Engler said.

© Copyright 1997 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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