NEW YORK (AP) — Struggling to unify after another disappointing electionThe Republican The National Committee becomes more and more enraged by a leadership battle as the GOP attempts to manage its delicate relationship towards former President Donald Trump.
Public feuding could escalate before things get better, with the RNC Chair vote not being scheduled for until January.
“It’ll be ugly as hell for a while,” says longtime RNC member Ron Kaufman.
The The family struggle to be the leader of the party is largely ignored by the national media. equally contentious struggle To become the New Republican The election for House Speaker is scheduled for the first week of January. Both are crucial selections for the GOP as it works to overcome six years of electoral failure and move into another presidential election.
As the Republicans’ national political arm, the RNC will raise and spend hundreds of millions of dollars in building or rebuilding the party’s framework, in campaign messaging and in the year-long presidential nomination process that will begin in earnest before long.
Ronna McDaniel, Trump’s hand-picked choice to lead the committee and the niece of Utah Sen. Mitt RomneyThe fourth consecutive term is being run by. But the 49-year-old is facing a rising wave of discontent from Trump’s “MAGA” movement, even as the former president stays silent — at least, for now.
McDaniel stated that she had notified Trump about her intent to run for another term, but didn’t ask him specifically for his support. She stated that she “didn’t think it would be appropriate to be asking for any endorsements” Because party rules dictate that the RNC must remain neutral during the next presidential primary,
McDaniel demurred when asked whether she wanted Trump’s support.
“I think the most important support right now is the members,” Sie said. “These are leaders in the party, the grassroots leaders.”
California attorney Harmeet Dhillon has emerged as the MAGA favorite to challenge McDaniel, who secured commitments from more than 100 of the RNC’s 168 voting members earlier this month. Dhillon is working aggressively to peel away some of that support ahead of the formal vote at next month’s annual winter meeting in southern California.
Dhillon also said that she notified Trump in a quick phone call just before her intention to make her plans public. He did not specifically ask her for it, but she stated that McDaniel did not discourage McDaniel from being her opponent.
Dhillon represented Trump’s political groups in 2022 Midterms. Her law firm made more than $400,000 and she said she would quit her practice of law if elected to the chair. The California lawyer, 53, was born in India and has vowed independence in the crowded 2020 presidential primary race.
Still, Dhillon defends Trump against those Republicans who blame him for the party’s disappointing performance in the November midterm elections. The GOP won a narrow House majority, but a host of Trump’s hand-picked candidates lost key elections for the Senate and governor.
“It’s not any one person’s fault. And I frankly think it’s a little too convenient to say it’s Donald Trump’s fault. Donald Trump hasn’t been the president for the last two years,” Dhillon said.
Dhillon was not content to criticize Trump. Republican Leader Mitch McConnellTrump targets McConnell, who is known for failing to invest enough in crucial Senate elections. Actually, McConnell and his allies spent tens of millions of dollars more than Trump’s political action committee in the midterms.
“You have Mitch McConnell, because he hates Trump, refusing to support candidates that President Trump endorsed, which I think is really appalling. And I blame him for the Senate losses,” Dhillon said.
Meanwhile, McDaniel is facing criticism from a growing chorus of Republicans largely outside the RNC’s 168 voting members who are eager to change course after three consecutive disappointing election seasons. Her critics include numerous high-profile Trump loyalists such as Fox News hosts, prominent MAGA figures and prominent social media users.
There are some other unlikely people who support her.
One frequent Trump critic, RNC member Bill Palatucci, said he would support Dhillon because McDaniel has essentially become Trump’s “tool” Recent years. He cited her decisions to stay silent on some of Trump’s more egregious behavior and to spend millions of dollars on his legal fees.
“There’s just gotta be a change,” Palatucci described McDaniel’s commitments to the committee as “very important,” “soft.” “RNC members are experienced pols who know how to look you right in the eye and say, ‘I love you,’ and then walk into the voting booth and slit your throat.”
Meanwhile, RNC members receive a flood of emails from the rank-and-file Republican voters and activists who support Dhillon’s candidacy. The deluge comes after Dhillon and her allies shared the entire committee’s personal emails on social media.
Steve Scheffler, an Iowa-based RNC member who supports McDaniel, said he’s receiving 50 to 70 emails each day from Republicans, many of them angry, weighing in on the leadership fight.
“Most of them are like, ‘Ronna’s gotta go,’” Scheffler said.
Arizona GOP Chair Kelli Ward said she’s received “a few thousand emails” In recent days.
“NOT ONE regular person not affiliated with the current RNC apparatus has urged me to retain Ronna Romney McDaniel as Chair,” Ward tweets
Trump is still a wildcard.
The former president has stayed out of the public fight, but key members of his team — including senior adviser Susie Wiles — have notified members in private conversations that Trump remains supportive of McDaniel’s reelection.
Trump’s allies note that his strategy could change at any time — especially as conservative media line up against McDaniel.
Wiles also defended McDaniel publicly on Friday following a report in conservative media, written by a Dhillon supporter and legal client, that the RNC had spent millions of dollars on private jets, limousines, donor mementos and floral arrangements under McDaniel’s watch.
Wiles pointed out that RNC spending could sometimes be used to pay for purchases made at Trump’s discretion.
“Someone leaving this info out of any criticism of RNC spending — and Ronna McDaniel, in particular — is not painting a complete picture,” Wiles The Associated Press.
Glenn McCall of RNC, the chair of its budget committee described excessive spending reports in his words. “a gross misrepresentation” The letter was sent to all members. He wrote that the costs associated with private jets and luxury car rentals were heavily linked to Trump.
McDaniel’s supporters are eager to highlight her success in fundraising, arguably the GOP chair’s most important responsibility. McCall says that McDaniel has raised over $1.5 million during her term.
Dhillon continues to escalate her attack on McDaniel.
She raised questions about McDaniel’s management of RNC funds, accused her of offering members key positions in exchange for their support and suggested the chair was behind an anonymous email smear campaign.
But more than anything, Dhillon says she’s running because she wants the party to win again: “I’m tired of losing.”
McDaniel, for her part warns against such deep divisions in her party.
“The race I’m running is about unity,” Sie said. “If we continue to fight and be so hateful to each other to the point where Republicans won’t vote for other Republicans, we’re giving the Democrats what they want.”