"I think it's about being decent," Priebus said. "I think it's about dignity and respect that nobody deserves to have their dignity diminished or people don't deserve to be disrespected.
"I think that there isn't anyone in this room, Republican, Democrat or in the middle, that doesn't think that Rob Portman, for example, is a good conservative Republican.
"He is. And we know that. … I think that party leaders have to constantly remind everybody that we can't build a party by division and subtraction. We can only build the party by addition and multiplication. We get that and that's going to be our endeavor."
Priebus wouldn't say whether he would agree with Portman's decision, only saying, "It's his decision. It's not a matter of whether I support his decision. I support him doing what he wants to do as an elected person and as an American. If that's his opinion, then I support him having that opinion."
Although today's event was mostly focused on what went wrong in 2012 and the changes that will be made, there was some looking back at the time before Priebus arrived at the RNC.
He told the audience that the finances of the committee were in such disarray when he got there that its two credit cards were "suspended," and they were having a hard time making payroll. For awhile, Priebus said, he used his own credit card to make expenses for the RNC.
He was asked whether former RNC Chairman Michael Steele "ruined" the RNC, and although Priebus said he wouldn't "go there," he added "the numbers speak for themselves."
In conclusion, Priebus had a message for voters: "To those who have left the party, let me say this, we want to earn your trust again, to those who have yet to trust us, we welcome you with open arms."