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Republican National Committee chair Ronna McDaniel speaks before a Republican presidential primary debate hosted by NBC News on Nov. 8, 2023 in Miami.
Republican National Committee chair Ronna McDaniel speaks before a Republican presidential primary debate hosted by NBC News on Nov. 8, 2023 in Miami.Rebecca Blackwell / AP Photo file

Trump appears poised to throw the RNC’s McDaniel under the bus

Donald Trump was asked about RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel. “I would say right now there’ll probably be some changes made," he replied.

By

As last week got underway, Politico reported that Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel was facing deep frustrations from many in the party, amidst financial and organizing setbacks. The article added that “many grassroots activists say McDaniel has lost their trust, perhaps permanently.”

Evidently, they’re not the only ones with concerns. NBC News reported:

Former President Donald Trump on Sunday said “there’ll probably be some changes” when asked how Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel is doing — an apparent shift from his previous praise for the chairwoman.

After Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures” host Maria Bartiromo asked, “How’s Ronna McDaniel doing?” Trump didn’t exactly offer his handpicked RNC chair a ringing endorsement.

“I think she did great when she ran Michigan for me. I think she did OK, initially in the RNC,” he said. “I would say right now there’ll probably be some changes made.”

Ouch.

McDaniel’s tenure as chair of the Republican National Committee has seen its share of downturns. As regular readers know, after Trump chose her for the RNC role in 2017, McDaniel’s first election cycle was rough: The party lost 40 House seats and its majority in the chamber.

The party also saw its share of struggles in 2019 and 2020. The 2022 midterms were far from great for Republicans, too.

Making matters slightly worse, the 2024 cycle isn’t exactly going the RNC’s way, either. McDaniel pleaded with Trump to participate in the party’s presidential primary debates, and he ignored her. The RNC urged other leading presidential hopefuls not to participate in a recent Family Leader forum in Iowa, and they ignored the party, too.

In the 2023 elections, after Democrats fared unexpectedly well in key races in Virginia, Kentucky and Ohio, CNBC reported that some on Team Trump were beginning to blame the RNC chair for the party’s difficulties, and the former president himself had grown “increasingly sour” on McDaniel, despite the fact that it was his idea to put her in this position.

McDaniel continues to show Trump great loyalty — the day after the New Hampshire primary, the RNC publicly encouraged Nikki Haley to end her candidacy in order to help Trump — but there’s no reason to believe the former president will see this as sufficient.

As for the bigger picture, internal Republican politics at the national level and across several state parties appears to be an embarrassing mess. That does not mean, however, that things can’t get worse.

This post updates our related earlier coverage.

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