Ronna McDaniel, the chair of the Republican National Committee (RNC), faces growing criticism and uncertainty as the general election approaches. While President Trump and his allies express dissatisfaction with McDaniel's performance, it is noted that Trump and McDaniel maintain regular communication. Some activists have been urging Trump to take action against McDaniel, with conservative group Turning Point USA playing a key role in mobilizing discontent. Nevertheless, McDaniel enjoys widespread support from state party chairs, and her position as the longest-serving chair in over a century adds to the complexity of the situation.
Replacing McDaniel would require a two-thirds vote, which many believe would be nearly impossible to secure. North Dakota national committee member Lori Hinz, who opposed McDaniel's reelection campaign, states that grassroots activists in her state are unhappy with McDaniel's leadership. However, Hinz acknowledges the difficulty in unseating McDaniel, as frustrated party members ultimately have limited sway over her decision-making.
While some presidential candidates express dissatisfaction with the debate qualifications set by the RNC, Trump and his allies have a different set of concerns. Trump has urged McDaniel to cancel the debates and shift focus towards election integrity efforts. Those close to Trump claim that donors have expressed dissatisfaction with the committee, and Trump himself has allegedly become disenchanted with McDaniel's performance. The Trump campaign, however, has not provided any official comment on these matters.
In response to these criticisms, the RNC asserts that they remain committed to defeating Democratic nominee Joe Biden in the upcoming election. The committee highlights their engagement with all campaigns and candidates, as well as their ongoing efforts to ensure election integrity. The RNC emphasizes the extensive infrastructure they have built to support the party's nominee. Statements from state party chairs across various states are cited as evidence of McDaniel's wide-ranging support.
In the event that Trump becomes the presumptive nominee, he would have options for making changes within the RNC. Discussions within Trump's circles have included the possibility of appointing a loyalist to oversee the committee's operations. The Trump campaign has hinted at making changes at the committee if Trump wins the primary, stating that they would "refocus" the organization, according to a memo.
Conservative activists, particularly Turning Point USA, are urging Trump to take action against McDaniel. Charlie Kirk, the founder of Turning Point USA, has encouraged Trump to push for a change in leadership at the committee, emphasizing the need for swift action to address structural problems. Turning Point USA previously attempted to remove McDaniel during the last RNC election but was unsuccessful. However, following recent election losses in Virginia, Kentucky, and Ohio, discontent with McDaniel has become more pronounced.The chair of the Virginia GOP, Rich Anderson, claims that the RNC has denied his request for financial aid. However, Ronna McDaniel, the RNC chair, vehemently denies this allegation and asserts that Virginia officials had informed them in the summer that they did not require any funding. McDaniel further adds that Republicans in the state have been outspent on matters related to abortion. Not only Anderson, but other notable figures like biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy have also expressed their disapproval. In fact, Ramaswamy has taken it a step further by launching an online petition demanding McDaniel's removal from her position.
Ramaswamy surprised McDaniel during a primary debate by publicly attacking her and demanding her resignation. McDaniel responded to these personal accusations by stressing the negative consequences of playing the blame game within the GOP. While Ramaswamy's criticisms were directed specifically at McDaniel, other candidates have criticized the RNC for their debate criteria and the restrictions imposed on non-GOP sanctioned debates.
One such critic is North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, who has specifically called out McDaniel and RNC debate chair David Bossie for their attempts to limit the field before the Iowa caucus based on the debate rules. Concerns about McDaniel's performance as the chair have been raised among southern RNC members. However, it is unlikely that there would be enough support from a majority or two-thirds of RNC members to hold a special vote to remove her from office, especially considering that her term is set to end in a year.