Two of Hearts, the Republican National Committee? Now Trump’s piggybank to pay his legal bills

“[The] RNC conducts itself as a propaganda outlet, like a domestic version of RT or Sputnik, whose allegiance isn’t to America, but to the narrow interests of Republican meme wars. 

I suppose there’s a place for this sort of thing. But our political parties aren’t supposed to be that place. The political parties are supposed to put country over party.

Some grownup should counsel these kids at the RNC to quit their jobs. Nihilism corrupts the soul. No job is worth that.”

– Jonathan V. Last 

 

On the demise of the Republican National Committee:

 

“RNC hires a prominent ‘Stop the Steal’ advocate to help craft its 2024 platform”

 

“Arizona defendant Christina Bobb plays key role on RNC election integrity team”

Amy Gardner and Yvonne Wingett Sanchez in the Washington Post:

“When conservative lawyer and media personality Christina Bobb became the latest member of Donald Trump’s inner circle to be charged for her alleged role in the effort to reverse the 2020 presidential election results, it became immediately clear she would not have to give up her day job: senior counsel to the Republican National Committee’s election integrity team.

“For some, there is a certain irony — if not outright conflict — that a leading purveyor of false claims that the 2020 election was riddled with fraud is a major player in the national GOP’s efforts to protect the integrity of the 2024 vote.

“But not for Bobb, and not for her closest allies — including Trump himself, who through a spokesman defended only Bobb by name among all the 18 individuals indicted Wednesday in Arizona. If anything, Bobb’s indictment solidifies her identity as a dedicated Trump loyalist who fiercely fought to reverse his loss in the politically competitive state and potentially elevates her role within the RNC to help him win in November.”

The article then details the role that Bobb played in the Arizona “fake electors” scheme, based on the allegations in the indictment and evidence from the House January 6 Committee.

The article then continues to discuss the potential role that Bobb might play in this fall’s election:

“Some who have left said they fear that the party’s new election-integrity operation, particularly with Bobb in its midst, will veer toward embracing unfounded conspiracy theories that alienate more moderate Republicans.

““That was a bad hire,” Robin Vos, the Republican speaker of the Wisconsin Assembly, said in a televised interview about Bobb’s new job. “Christina Bobb is part of the fringe element that I don’t think helps to build credibility, not only in our party but in the entire country.”

Stephen K. Bannon, the former senior Trump adviser, said in an interview Thursday that he recommended to the Trump team that people like Bobb and others who have strong connections to the election integrity movement be hired into the RNC because “we need that kind of will to fight — someone who is going to contest elections everywhere.”

“With direct access to Trump by phone, Bobb can also serve as a direct link between the RNC and the former president, taking his input and sharing internal strategy with him, Bannon said. But that can cut two ways if Bobb pushes the party’s election integrity operation toward activity that draws legal scrutiny, several GOP operatives said, speaking candidly on condition of anonymity.

“Until 2018, the RNC operated under a federal consent decree prohibiting the committee from participating in election-day operations — the result of a 1982lawsuit from Democrats charging the committee with trying to discourage Black voters from casting ballots through targeted mailings and positioning armed, off-duty officers at polls in minority neighborhoods.

““What we worry about is Christina Bobb going rogue and doing something dumb and us getting thrown back into the consent decree,” one GOP strategist said.

“If volunteers or campaign operatives misstep, “Marc Elias and his well-funded allies are going to try to get the consent decree reinstated, and that’s something we’re all concerned about,” said another GOP operative, referring to the Democratic elections lawyer.”

There’s more in the piece. The whole article is very much worth a read.

By Ned Foley, April 22, 2024

AP reports:

“The Republican National Committee, newly reconstituted under Trump, has filed election-related lawsuits in nearly half the states. Recent lawsuits over voter roll maintenance in Michigan and Nevada are part of a larger strategy targeting various aspects… Continue reading

Must-read WaPo: “Republicans plan blitz of election-related lawsuits, but prospects uncertain”

WaPo:

[Excerpt:]

When Donald Trump installed a new chairman of the Republican Party this month, he explained privately and publicly what he wanted from the GOP: a bigger focus on election-related lawsuits, a more aggressive operation to monitor voting and a vow to make “election integrity” the party’s No. 1 priority.

The party is now striking a more aggressive tone as it recruits poll observers to keep an eye on in-person voting and boasts of positioning thousands of lawyers to challenge ballots and bring lawsuits. The strategy — an outgrowth of the one it used both before the 2020 election and after, when Trump sought to overturn the result — is meant to please Trump, electrify the base and persuade judges to tighten voting rules.

“It’s an extremely high priority for the president,” said the new Republican National Committee chairman, Michael Whatley, referring to Trump.

 

 

Letters from an American, Heather Cox Richardson

March 22, 2024

https://heathercoxrichardson.substack.com/

[Excerpt]:

As expected, Trump’s team has reorganized the Republican National Committee’s donation system, arranging for maximum donations to go first to Trump’s presidential campaign, then to Trump’s Save America political action committee, and finally to the RNC to elect down ballot candidates. The Save America PAC pays Trump’s legal bills. So far in 2024 it has spent $8.5 million on them. In essence, this new flow means Trump is using the RNC to raise money that is then diverted to him.

This morning, conservative lawyer George Conway suggested that “we should stop defiling the memory of the party of Lincoln by referring to the current organization” as the Republican Party.

 

“Trump’s invite to major donors prioritizes the committee paying his legal bills over the RNC”

 

AP:

Donald Trump’s new joint fundraising agreement with the Republican National Committee directs donations to his campaign and a political action committee that pays the former president’s legal bills before the RNC gets a cut, according to a fundraising invitation obtained by The Associated Press.

The unorthodox diversion of funds to the Save America PAC makes it more likely that Republican donors could see their money go to Trump’s lawyers, who have received at least $76 million over the last two years to defend him against four felony indictments and multiple civil cases. Some Republicans are already troubled that Trump’s takeover of the RNC could shortchange the cash-strapped party.

Trump has invited high-dollar donors to Palm Beach, Florida, for an April 6 fundraiser that comes as his fundraising is well behind President Joe Biden and national Democrats. The invitation’s fine print says donations to the Trump 47 Committee will first be used to give the maximum amount allowed under federal law to Trump’s campaign. Anything left over from the donation next goes toward a maximum contribution to Save America, and then anything left from there goes to the RNC and then to state political parties.

Adav Noti, the executive director of the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center in Washington, said that is a break from fundraising norms. Usually, Noti said, candidates prioritize raising cash that can be spent directly on campaign activity. Save America, on the other hand, is structured as a “leadership PAC” and thus barred from spending directly on Trump’s own campaign activities. The group devoted 84% of its spending to Trump’s legal costs as of February.

“The reason most candidates don’t do this is because the hardest money to raise is money that can be spent directly on the campaign,” said Noti, a former staff attorney for the Federal Election Commission. “No other candidate has used a leadership PAC the way the Trump campaign has.”

 

Party in the Front, Business in the Back

By Andrew Egger

March 21, 2023

How will the new-look, post-purge Trump Superfriends RNC help the Trump campaign through its intense cash crunch? The party’s two recent polar-opposite legal hires—Charlie Spies and Christina Bobb—provide a clue.

Spies, who is coming aboard as the RNC’s chief counsel, would seem a bizarre pickup for a party that just remade itself to be more deeply Trumpy than ever. A normie Republican campaign finance lawyer par excellence, Spies’s resume is lousy with near-presidents: He was chief counsel for Mitt Romney’s 2008 campaign, then counseled Romney’s super PAC in 2012, Jeb Bush’s in 2016, and Ron DeSantis’s last year.

That Trump’s RNC would bring Spies aboard—despite his resume, despite Trump’s stated fatwa on hiring ex-DeSantis staffers, despite the fact Spies even pushed back publicly against Donald Trump’s stolen-election lies in 2021—is an admission of grave need. Trump and the RNC are in a deep and unusual financial hole, trailing far behind Biden and the Democrats financially and with the additional burden of Trump’s large and growing legal fees. Spies, who practically wrote the book on modern candidates getting the most out of their super PACs without running afoul of election law, will be uniquely suited to help the GOP and its allied groups push money around.

But how to raise that money in the first place? That’s where the second lawyer comes in: Christina Bobb, the RNC’s new “senior counsel for election integrity.”

If you’ve followed the news in recent years around Trump’s many attempts to avoid the consequences of his own actions, from losing the 2020 election to fighting his criminal indictments, you’ve probably brushed past Bobb’s name a time or two. As an anchor for One America News Network after the 2020 election, Bobb slung enough lunatic conspiracy theories around that Dominion Voting Systems singled her out as a named defendant in its defamation lawsuit against the network.

Not content merely to evangelize for Trump’s attempt to steal the election, Bobb also quietly lent her talents to Rudy Giuliani’s work to recruit slates of fake electors in seven “contested” states. According to Dominion’s lawsuit, Bobb spent January 6th holed up at the Team Trump “War Room” with Giuliani, John Eastman, Steve Bannon, and others involved with the last-ditch effort to pressure Mike Pence to refuse to certify the election results. Later, she became heavily involved with dead-end “audit” efforts that vainly tried to uncover election fraud in Arizona.

In 2023, she resurfaced in West Palm Beach as an attorney representing Trump in his classified documents case, where she signed a letter attesting—incorrectly, it turned out—that a “diligent search” of Mar-a-Lago had been conducted and no classified documents remained on-site. (She later told investigators she had not conducted the search herself; showing admirable foresight, she had inserted several caveats into the letter to specify that she was only certifying “based upon the information that has been provided to me.”)

The new RNC is working hard to make its new “election integrity” division a core brand component: Party co-chair Lara Trump has been hitting the cable circuit since her takeover to trumpet the “massive resources” the party is devoting to “fight fire with dynamite.” It’s an attempt to reassure the base that the RNC “establishment” is all-in on the MAGA movement—which will hopefully get the small-dollar donations to the cash-strapped party flowing again.

And who better to be the public face of that division than a TV-friendly stop-the-steal lawyer who’s already shown she’s fanatically loyal to Trump?

 

“RNC to add new lawyers focusing on claims of election fraud – including one key figure from 2020 challenges”

CNN:

The Republican National Committee, now under the control of former President Donald Trump and his campaign, is bringing on a slate of new lawyers both internally and externally who will focus intensely on election fraud, an issue Trump has remained fixated on.

The lawyers “will initiate battle on election integrity from an offensive instead of defensive posture,” Chris LaCivita, Trump’s co-campaign manager and newly instated RNC Chief of Staff, told CNN.

LaCivita will bring on Charlie Spies, an experienced GOP lawyer, to take over as chief counsel at the RNC.

Trump attorney Christina Bobb, a former correspondent at the Trump-aligned One America News Network, will join as senior counsel for election integrity. Bobb was very active in promoting Trump’s claims that the 2020 election was stolen and authored a book called “Stealing Your Vote: The Inside Story of the 2020 Election and What It Means for 2024.”

“I’m honored to join the RNC and thrilled the new leadership is focused on election integrity. I look forward to working to secure our elections and restore confidence in the process,” Bobb said in a statement to CNN.

Bobb was directly involved in two separate Trump controversies that led to the former president’s federal indictments in the Mar-a-Lago classified documents case, as well as the 2020 election subversion case. She has not been accused of any crimes.

In June 2022, while federal authorities were still trying to recover classified documents that remained at Mar-a-Lago, Bobb signed a sworn affidavit on Trump’s behalf, inaccurately telling the Justice Department that there weren’t any classified files left at the club. Special counsel Jack Smith later charged Trump with lying to the FBI and accused Trump of illegally causing Bobb to submit this false declaration even though he knew it was untrue.

She also played a key role in the Trump campaign’s fake electors scheme after he lost the 2020 election, working closely with Trump advisers to organize the plan in seven battleground states. The scheme formed the basis of parts of Smith’s election subversion indictment against the former president, which says Trump and his allies created “fraudulent slates of presidential electors to obstruct the certification proceeding” in Congress on January 6, 2021, and “disenfranchise millions of voters.”

Trump has pleaded not guilty in both cases.

Bobb was also a correspondent during the 2020 election for the fringe pro-Trump network OAN, where she promoted false claims that the election was rigged. The voting technology company Dominion sued Bobb and OAN for defamation in 2021. Some of her on-air segments were also referenced in a separate defamation case against OAN filed by Smartmatic, another aggrieved voting company. OAN and Bobb have denied wrongdoing in these civil cases.

[Boldface added]

 

Letters from an American, Heather Cox Richardson

March 13, 2024

https://heathercoxrichardson.substack.com/

[Excerpt]:

Trump is not the same as he was in 2020, and in the past three years he has transformed the Republican Party into a vehicle for Christian nationalism. 

In 2016 the Republican Party was still dominated by leaders who promoted supply-side economics. They were determined to use the government to cut taxes and regulations to concentrate money and power among a few individuals, who would, theoretically, use that money and power to invest in the economy far more efficiently than they could if the government intervened. Before 2016 that Reaganesque party had stayed in office thanks to the votes of a base interested in advancing patriarchal, racist, and religious values. 

But Trump flipped the power structure in the party, giving control to the reactionary base. In the years since 2020, the Republican Party has become openly opposed to democracy, embracing the Christian nationalism of leaders like Hungary’s Viktor Orbán, who maintains that the tenets of democracy weaken a nation by giving immigrants, people of color, LGBTQ+ individuals, and women the same rights as heterosexual, native-born white men. 

Rather than calling for a small federal government that stays out of the way of market forces, as Republicans have advocated since 1980, the new Trump Party calls for a strong government that enforces religious rules and bans abortion; books; diversity, equity, and inclusion programs; and so on. In 2022, thanks to the three extremists Trump put on the Supreme Court, the government ceased to recognize a constitutional right that Americans had enjoyed since the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision: the right to abortion.  

Last week, Trump formally took over the apparatus of the Republican Party, installing loyalists—including his daughter-in-law—at the head of the Republican National Committee (RNC) and purging the organization of all but his own people. Indicating its priorities, the RNC has hired Trump lawyer Christina Bobb, former correspondent at the right-wing media outlet One American News Network and promoter of the lie that the 2020 election was stolen, as senior counsel for election integrity. 

“Trump’s Man at the R.N.C. Will Face Pressure to Satisfy His Election Lies”

NYT:

After the 2020 election, one story out of North Carolina had a powerful effect on Donald J. Trump.

A proactive Republican, the story went, had worked behind the scenes to stop Democrats from stealing the election in the state and helped secure Mr. Trump’s victory there.

That Republican was Michael Whatley, the chairman of the North Carolina G.O.P. He had pushed the state party to recruit what he described as thousands of poll observers and hundreds of volunteer lawyers as part of an election-protection program. Mr. Trump called Mr. Whatley after the election, and Mr. Whatley boasted to him about that program’s success.

“That’s great,” Mr. Trump replied, as Mr. Whatley recounted the conversation in a speech to North Carolina Republicans last year. “Why the hell didn’t they do that in Arizona and Georgia?”

Mr. Whatley, who became the Republican National Committee’s general counsel last year, is now poised for a far bigger and more consequential role: Mr. Trump handpicked him to succeed Ronna McDaniel as the committee’s chair. Ms. McDaniel is expected to step aside Friday.

Mr. Trump’s selection of Mr. Whatley, whose appointment still awaits a formal vote, sums up the former president’s vision for the new R.N.C. He wants it to share his obsession with the false idea that President Biden and Democrats stole the 2020 election from him and are working to do it again in 2024. Mr. Trump believes Mr. Whatley is more in sync with his views about voter fraud than Ms. McDaniel, and he has insisted that Mr. Whatley will stop Democrats from “cheating” in November, according to two people who have spoken to Mr. Trump and who insisted on anonymity to discuss private conversations.

But the story that stuck with Mr. Trump — that his victory in North Carolina had hinged on Mr. Whatley’s election-watchdog work — was just that: a story, based only loosely on reality….

Moreover, Mr. Whatley himself has a more mixed record than Mr. Trump may realize on the former president’s No. 1 issue. While he often sounds like a loyal soldier in the effort to falsely discredit Mr. Biden’s win, at other times he has distanced himself from the most extreme conspiracy theories promoted by Mr. Trump and his allies….

On the campaign trail Mr. Trump has praised a plan — first pushed by his former national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn — to “guard the vote” during the 2024 election, with an emphasis on heavily Democratic cities with large Black populations.

“Michael Whatley will bring in active leadership in the form of election integrity, as opposed to a passive slash reactive approach,” said Chris LaCivita, a senior Trump campaign adviser who is expected to soon move over to the R.N.C. to run its operations in the general election.

A spokesman for Mr. Whatley declined to answer questions for this article.

If there’s another tight race in swing states this fall, the R.N.C. will be far more active after Election Day than it was in 2020, said Steve Bannon, the far-right podcast host and former chief strategist to Mr. Trump.

“It’s the MAGA takeover of the R.N.C.,” Mr. Bannon said in an interview….

Trump Fully Devours the Republican Establishment

Long a dominant force over the party’s institutions, he is now moving to fully eradicate their independence and remake them in his own image.https://www.nytimes.com/2024/02/16/us/politics/trump-republican-party-establishment.html

Michael C. Bender

Feb. 16, 2024>

https://www.nytimes.com/2024/02/16/us/politics/trump-republican-party-establishment.html<

[Excerpts:]

Donald J. Trump is stamping out the final flashes of independence inside Republican institutions with astonishing speed, demonstrating that his power continues to expand over the new party establishment he has created.

At the Republican National Committee, he is moving to replace longtime supporters with allies even more closely bound to him, including his daughter-in-law, Lara Trump.

In the House, Republicans are more compliant than ever. Most vividly, Speaker Mike Johnson — ostensibly the party’s top-ranking official — backtracked on an endorsement in a crucial Senate race because Mr. Trump disagreed. On Thursday, Mr. Johnson’s candidate ended his campaign less than one week after opening it.

In the Senate, which has been less beholden to Mr. Trump, his influence over a failed border bill made one of the party’s most effective lawmakers, Mitch McConnell, look weak.

The displays of obedience emerging in recent weeks remove any lingering doubt that the Republican Party is aligned to advance the interests of one man, signaling that a sweep of victories from Mr. Trump and his allies in November could also mean replacing checks and balances in Washington with his wishes and whims.

For many Republicans, those aren’t risks but the rewards of a second Trump administration. Only a rapidly dwindling minority inside the party remains worried about Mr. Trump’s intentions.

“This is a defining moment for our party and our country,” said former Gov. Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas, who ran a long-shot Republican primary challenge to Mr. Trump on a promise to restore the party to its traditional principles. “As long as leaders continue to wilt under Trump’s pressure, we’re going to be moving in the direction of a Trump party and not the Republican Party.”

Mr. Trump is consolidating control even as he faces 91 felony charges, with a New York judge on Thursday setting a trial date of March 25 in the case concerning hush money payments to a porn star. On Friday, a final ruling is expected in a separate New York civil fraud case, where the state attorney general is seeking to penalize Mr. Trump nearly $370 million and effectively cut him off from his family business.

At the same time, Mr. Trump, who long accused Republican leaders of rigging the system for their self-gain, has come to mirror their methods. The swamp that he once declared in need of draining, he now sees as wetlands in need of protecting.

Mr. Trump’s team argues that he is giving voice to popular opinions that had no champion in the party, and that the changes at the Republican National Committee are intended with a single goal in mind: electing him to a second White House term.

“Our mission is straightforward: maximize the Republican Party’s resources to get President Trump elected,” said Chris LaCivita, a Trump campaign senior adviser set to take over as chief operating officer of the R.N.C.

Presidents tend to become the political establishment, and often install trusted lieutenants in key positions of their party’s apparatus. But Mr. Trump has gone beyond traditional norms in both the degree of loyalty he requires and the totality of his project to remake the conservative movement in his own image.

At multiple points during the past two years, the former president floated the possibility of canceling the primary process during discussions with Ronna McDaniel, the chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, according to two people familiar with the conversations.

Ms. McDaniel did not consider Mr. Trump’s suggestion to be a serious request, even as the former president complained he was being treated unfairly, the people said. Ms. McDaniel did not return a call seeking comment.

She owed her political post and subsequent re-elections to Mr. Trump’s endorsements, and signed off on a plan for the party to help pay his legal bills. She quickly became a close political adviser, even as she showed an occasional willingness to disagree with him.

Ms. McDaniel privately urged Mr. Trump to drop his opposition to masks during the pandemic, and cautioned that his attempts to overturn the 2020 election results in Michigan, her home state, were based on lies. She warned that a third presidential campaign would make it impossible for the party to continue paying his legal bills — and cut him off after he declared his candidacy anyway.

Most recently, Ms. McDaniel refused to cancel all of the Republican presidential debates — despite badgering from Mr. Trump, who refused to participate.

Mr. Trump’s next chairman at the R.N.C. is likely to be Michael Whatley, a supporter of the former president’s false election claims. Mr. Trump also endorsed as party co-chair his daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, who has had various roles in his political operation.

Mr. Trump is not the first president to seek a lieutenant from within the family: Ronald Reagan had his daughter, Maureen, installed in the same No. 2 party post.

But previous efforts to overhaul parties were aimed at winning elections across the ballot, not just the presidency, said Michael Steele, an anti-Trump conservative who served as Republican National Committee chairman during the rise of the Tea Party movement.

“Many of us have made the argument that the Republican Party has grown old and stale and frayed at the edges,” Mr. Steele said. “But we addressed that by encouraging a new generation of leadership, and it was never so selfishly oriented around one person.”

Michael C. Bender is a Times political correspondent covering Donald J. Trump, the Make America Great Again movement and other federal and state elections.More about Michael C. Bender

The Truth About Trump’s RNC Shakeup—and Why the GOP Will Suffer

A shakeup at the RNC may mean less money for anyone not named Donald Trump. And that’s terrible news for state parties desperate for cash.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/the-truth-about-trumps-rnc-shakeupand-why-the-gop-will-suffer?

 

“Trump’s pick to lead the RNC is facing skepticism from some Republicans”

AP:

In pushing Michael Whatley as the next leader of the Republican National Committee, Donald Trump zeroed in on the North Carolina GOP chairman’s dedication to “election integrity,” baselessly suggesting he would ensure the 2024 race “can’t be stolen.”

Some of Trump’s most ardent supporters in Whatley’s home state would, no doubt, like a word.

Whatley has been accused by some Republicans of essentially manufacturing his win as state party chairman last year following a chaotic vote, which resulted in a legal challenge that offered evidence some ballots were improperly cast. While Whatley and his allies acknowledged that technical problems made voting with the party’s mobile app difficult, they vehemently deny that the irregularities changed the outcome of the contest and note that the lawsuit was dismissed. [Boldface added]

But for some conservatives, primed by years of Trump urging vigilance against voter fraud, the episode instilled a suspicion that the party contest was stolen by a Washington Beltway fixture whose work for the George W. Bush administration and as a lobbyist they viewed skeptically.

Trump says he opposes RNC proposal to name him the party’s presumptive nominee

That resolution, which the RNC had confirmed earlier was under consideration, has now been withdrawn, according to a person familiar with it who spoke on the condition of anonymity

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2024/01/25/trump-rnc-resolution-nominee/

[Excerpt:

The effort by national party officials was seen as a symbolic show of support for the former president and would allow more party resources to be devoted to Trump’s campaign.

The RNC confirmed earlier Thursday it planned to consider a resolution declaring Trump the party’s presumptive nominee — even though 48 states have yet to cast their ballots in the primary race. The proposed resolution, which was first reported by the Dispatch, garnered swift criticism from RNC members in states across the country.

[Boldface added]

 

Trump ‘increasingly sour’ on RNC chair Ronna McDaniel, as GOP grapples with recent losses

https://www.cnbc.com/2023/11/13/trump-sours-on-rnc-chair-ronna-mcdaniel-after-gop-losses

[Excerpts:]

Former President Donald Trump has grown “increasingly sour” on Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel and the overall leadership of the RNC, according to a person close to the former president.

Among those publicly lobbying Trump to help oust McDaniel is former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, who hosts a streaming show, the War Room, that draws the attention of Trump’s inner circle.

It’s difficult to gauge how much daylight, if any, exists between McDaniel and Trump.

They acknowledged that Trump had, in fact, soured on McDaniel two years ago, because he felt the RNC didn’t do enough to help him overturn the results of the 2020 election, which Trump lost to President Joe Biden.

McDaniel said in a recent CNN interview that she would support Trump as the party’s nominee even if he were convicted of crimes in any of his four pending criminal cases. The RNC typically does not endorse one candidate over any other in Republican primaries, however, so McDaniel has not explicitly endorsed Trump for president.

“Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel and the entire Republican National Committee is laser focused on beating Biden next fall. The RNC has already staffed up in 15 states, filed over 70 election integrity lawsuits, launched Bank Your Vote, established a permanent Election Integrity department, and continues to hold Joe Biden’s feet to the fire,” an RNC spokesperson said.

 

Liz Cheney says RNC chair ‘collaborating’ with Trump’s ‘Nazi propaganda’

https://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/4307011

Former Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) ripped Republican National Committee (RNC) Chair Ronna McDaniel for dodging questions Sunday about former President Trump’s “vermin” comments, which Cheney described as “Nazi propaganda.”

“When @GOPChairwoman refuses to condemn the GOP’s leading candidate for using the same Nazi propaganda that mobilized 1930s-40s Germany to evil, it’s fair to assume she’s collaborating,” Cheney wrote in a post on X, formerly Twitter. “History will judge Ronna McDaniel and every republican who is appeasing this dangerous man.”

Trump is facing backlash over the language used on social media and in a speech marking Veterans Day in which he pledged to “root out” the “vermin” of the country.

“In honor of our great Veterans on Veteran’s Day, we pledge to you that we will root out the Communists, Marxists, Fascists, and Radical Left Thugs that live like vermin within the confines of our Country, lie, steal, and cheat on Elections, and will do anything possible, whether legally or illegally, to destroy America, and the American Dream,” Trump wrote in a post.

Pressed over the comments on multiple Sunday talk shows, McDanieldodged reporters’ questions and said she would not comment on candidates and their messaging.

“I will say this, I know President Trump supports the veterans, our whole party supports our veterans. And I do think we’re at a very serious moment in our country,” she said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Ruth Ben-Ghiat, a historian at New York University, told The Washington Post that “calling people ‘vermin’ was used effectively by [Adolf] Hitler and [Benito] Mussolini to dehumanize people and encourage their followers to engage in violence.”

During an MSNBC appearance Monday, presidential historian Jon Meacham linked Trump’s comments to the fascist dictators of the 1930s, saying “to call your opponent vermin, to dehumanize them, is to not only open the door, but to walk through the door toward the most ghastly kinds of crimes.”

In an earlier statement shared with The Hill, the Trump campaign railed against the criticism.

“Those who try to make that ridiculous assertion are clearly snowflakes grasping for anything because they are suffering from Trump Derangement Syndrome and their sad, miserable existence will be crushed when President Trump returns to the White House,” it said.

[Boldface added]

“RNC will support Trump if voters choose him, even if convicted, chair says”

Axios:

Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel said the committee would support former President Trump as the 2024 GOP presidential nominee if voters were to choose him, even if he were convicted of a crime.

What she’s saying: “Whoever the voters choose is the appropriate nominee,” McDaniel said on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday when asked if Trump would qualify as one if he were convicted.

“Exclusive: RNC plans to recruit army of poll watchers for 2024”

Axios:

The Republican National Committee plans to recruit and train tens of thousands of poll workers and watchers in battleground states for the 2024 election, according to plans shared first with Axios.

Why it matters: It’s part of the RNC’s ongoing push to scrutinize suspected voter fraud and mobilize on-the-ground “election integrity directors” in crucial states ahead of the 2024 election.

  • Repeated audits and reviews, including from GOP-led groups, failed to find evidence of voter fraud despite former President Trump’s claims that it was widespread during the 2020 election.

Zoom in: The RNC is continuing its expansion from a “pop-up-shop style election operation” to a year-round election integrity department this year.

 

Conspiracy theorist, RNC chairwoman to testify during trial of 2 former Pres. Trump co-defendants

FULTON COUNTY, Ga. — Prosecutors have named two witnesses they intend to call for testimony in the Georgia election interference trial of two of former President Donald Trump’s co-defendants.

Documents filed on Tuesday indicate Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones are “necessary and material witnesses” in the trial set to begin later this month.

Sidney Powell, a former attorney for the former president, and Kenneth Chesebro, a former Department of Justice official, had their cases severed from the other 17 defendants and filed motions requesting speedy trials.

https://www.wsbtv.com/news/local/fulton-county/conspiracy-theorist-rnc-chairwoman-testify-during-trial-2-former-pres-trump-co-defendants/3362M34W4NAO3GDSETNWXENSWI/

[Excerpts:]

Donald Trump claims to be the best, most or first in countless laughable ways, but there’s one endeavor at which he really is peerless: Nobody dishes out humiliation in such heaping, merciless measures.

Just ask Ronna McDaniel. She’s the one feasting miserably on it now.

The chair of the Republican National Committee, McDaniel is responsible for its presidential primary debates, including the one next week at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif. Trump is skipping it. Dismissing her wishes, ignoring her entreaties, he has made other arrangements, just as he did in August, when he jilted McDaniel and pointedly took a pass on the first Republican primary debate, in Milwaukee.

But that’s just the half of it. When Trump snubs you, he snubs you in neon.

He’s actively competing with her debate by counterprogramming it — again, a repeat of his antics last month, when he did an interview with Tucker Carlson that was shown just as Ron DeSantis, Vivek Ramaswamy, Nikki Haley and the gang stood behind their lecterns, unfurling their talking points.

Only this time, he’s staging his rival event, a prime-time speech to striking United Auto Workers members that he could have scheduled for any other night, in McDaniel’s own backyard. She lives just outside Detroit, where Trump reportedly plans to make his remarks, and Michigan is where her grandfather George Romney was governor; where one of her uncles, Mitt Romney, grew up; and where the Romney clan has long been royalty. That’s why she went by Ronna Romney McDaniel until Trump came along and his contempt for Uncle Mitt complicated the luster of that middle name.

Michigan, in other words, is Romney territory. And Trump will be trampling all over it.

What a priceless turn of events. What a perfect spectacle — in the sense that it so vividly captures the mess of the Republican Party and the mortification of Republican “leaders” in the Trump era, when courtesy is obsolete, traditions are damned, loyalty flows to Mar-a-Lago but never from it, and all prosper or perish in accordance with their orange overlord’s whims.

Once upon a time, being the chair of the Republican Party was a prize and McDaniel’s duration in the job (she’s in her fourth term) would have been a triumphant validation of her political acumen and power. Now it just pegs her as a toady. It’s her ticket to disrepute.

She has richly earned that censure. Right after the 2020 presidential election, she was alternately squishy about and indulgent of Trump’s bogus claims that it had been stolen. As Tim Alberta recounted in a November 2020 article in Politico titled “The Inside Story of Michigan’s Fake Voter Fraud Scandal,” McDaniel “sanctioned her employees, beginning with top spokesperson Liz Harrington, to spread countless demonstrable falsehoods.” Alberta also noted that the R.N.C., “on McDaniel’s watch, tweeted out a video clip of disgraced lawyer Sidney Powell claiming Trump ‘won in a landslide’ (when he lost by more than six million votes nationally) and alleging a global conspiracy to rig the election against him.”

That was just a continuation of McDaniel’s fealty to Trump, who handpicked her to ascend to the chair of the R.N.C. after the 2016 election. She thanked him by dutifully playing the sycophant, as two headlines in Politico two years in a row neatly illustrated.

From January 2019: “R.N.C. Chair McDaniel Sides With Trump Over Uncle Mitt Romney.” That was when Romney, freshly elected to the Senate from Utah, wrote an opinion essay for The Washington Post that disparaged Trump’s performance as president. McDaniel in turn tweeted that Romney’s critique was “disappointing and unproductive.”

From February 2020: “Ronna McDaniel Stands With Trump After Uncle Mitt Says He’ll Vote to Convict.” That was when Romney, alone among Senate Republicans, deemed Trump culpable in the “perfect phone call” with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine, which prompted the first of Trump’s two impeachments. McDaniel countered Romney’s vote by tweeting that “Trump did nothing wrong, and the Republican Party is more united than ever behind him.”

How faithful she has been. How little it has netted her. She is being reduced to a laughingstock and is learning what Rudy Giuliani did when he had to trek to Mar-a-Lago with a tin cup in his hand and beg for financial help with legal bills that he’d incurred by promoting Trump’s election lies: With Trump, there are no alms for the addled. He doesn’t spare his friends the kind of humiliation that he visits upon his foes. His favors are contingent not on your past servitude but on your present utility.

And when you sell your soul to him, you get no receipt.

 

On the Voting Rights Act of 1965

Letters from an American, Heather Cox Richardson

August 24, 2023

heathercoxrichardson@substack.com

In the 1960s, Republicans made a devil’s bargain, courting the racists and social traditionalists who began to turn from the Democratic Party when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt began to make inroads on racial discrimination. Those same reactionaries jumped from the Democrats to create their own party when Democratic president Harry S. Truman strengthened his party’s turn toward civil rights by creating a presidential commission on civil rights in 1946 and then ordering the military to desegregate in 1948. Reactionaries rushed to abandon the Democrats permanently after Congress passed the 1964 Civil Rights Act, joining the Republicans at least temporarily to vote for Arizona senator Barry Goldwater, who promised to roll back civil rights laws and court decisions. 

The 1965 Voting Rights Act was the final straw for many of those reactionaries, and they began to move to the Republicans as a group when Richard Nixon promised not to use the federal government to enforce civil rights in the states. This so-called southern strategy pulled the Republican Party rightward.

In 1980, Republican presidential candidate Ronald Reagan appeared at the Neshoba County Fair near Philadelphia, Mississippi, a few miles from where three civil rights workers had been murdered in 1964 for their work registering Black Mississippians to vote, and said, “I believe in states’ rights.” Reagan tied government defense of civil rights to socialism, insisting that the government was using tax dollars from hardworking Americans to give handouts to lazy people, often using code words to mean “Black.” 

Since then, as their economic policies have become more and more unpopular, the Republicans have kept voters behind them by insisting that anyone calling for federal action is advocating socialism and by drawing deep divisions between those who vote Republican, whom they define as true Americans, and anyone who does not vote Republican and thus, in their ideology, is anti-American. 

From there it has been a short step to arguing that those who do not support Republican candidates should not vote or are voting illegally (although voter fraud is vanishingly rare). And from there, it appears to have been a short step to trying to overturn the results of an election where 7 million more Americans voted for Joe Biden, a Democrat, than voted for Trump and where the Electoral College vote for Biden was 306 to 232, the same margin Trump called a landslide in 2016 when it was in his favor. 

The Republicans on stage last night have abandoned democracy, and in that they accurately represent their party. It is no accident that in addition to the Georgia party chair indicted for trying to overturn the results of the 2020 election, Wisconsin Republican Party chair Brian Schimming was also mentioned in the Georgia indictment as part of the conspiracy for his role in the scheme to use false electors to steal the election for Trump, though he was not charged; former Arizona Republican chair Kelli Ward is in the crosshairs for her own participation in the scheme in Arizona; and in a different case, former Michigan Republican Party co-chair Meshawn Maddoch has pleaded not guilty to eight felony charges for her part in the attempt to steal the White House. 

State leaders have taken their cue from the top: Republican National Committee chair Ronna McDaniel also apparently participated in Trump’s fake elector scheme to steal the presidency.

It is quite a thing to see leading Republicans—including a former president—in mugshots for their assault on our democracy and to know that party leadership supports their actions. Indeed, it is unprecedented, and for those who remember what a grand party the Republicans have been at times in their history—Lincoln, after all, was a Republican, and so were Theodore Roosevelt and Dwight Eisenhower—it is a sad end.

But an end it is. The authoritarians who have taken over the party have abandoned their history and are now building something altogether different.

[Boldface added]

 

“RNC launches ‘Bank your Vote’ ad blitz ahead of debate to push Republicans to vote early in 2024 elections”

Quite notable from Fox News:

The Republican National Committee says it’s going “all in” ahead of Wednesday’s first GOP presidential nomination debate to encourage voters to turn in ballots early.

The recently-launched “Bank Your Vote” campaign seeks to motivate pre-Election Day balloting among Republicans ahead of the 2024 presidential election. The RNC effort aims to educate GOP voters on absentee voting, ballot collection and early in-person voting. 

The RNC ad blitz, shared first with Fox News Wednesday, includes a 30-second ad that will appear on the Rumble live stream of the debate, a Fox News-hosted showdown in Milwaukee….

Former President Donald Trump, who appears in the new RNC ad, released a video last month encouraging Republicans to vote early, backing the RNC’s effort.

For over 2½ years, Trump has repeatedly spotlighted unproven claims that massive fraud in early and absentee voting led to the 2020 presidential election being stolen.

But since launching his 2024 presidential campaign last November, Trump has appeared to slowly embrace efforts to encourage Republicans to vote early in person or cast an early absentee ballot.

During a recent Fox News town hall with Sean Hannity, Trump said he would encourage Republicans to vote early. But he also claimed people make “phony ballots” and charged “a lot of bad things happen to those ballots.”

Due in part to Trump’s rhetoric, Democrats have enjoyed a sizable early voting advantage the past couple of years over Republicans.

 

Trump’s Humiliation of the RNC Didn’t Catch Them by Surprise

Privately, Republican officials long knew the risk Trump would skip their first 2024 primary debate, but they couldn’t muster a plan to stop him.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/donald-trumps-humiliation-of-the-rnc-didnt-catch-them-by-surprise

 

GOP chair has ‘feeling’ Trump will sign pledge to get on debate stage

[Excerpts:]

Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said Thursday that she has a “feeling” former President Trump will sign the party’s loyalty pledge if he decides to participate in next week’s primary debate.

“He’s signed the pledge before. He signed it to get on the South Carolina ballot,” McDaniel told NewsNation’s Blake Burman on “The Hill.” “I have a feeling if he wants to be on the debate stage, he’s going to sign that pledge.”

The chairwoman’s comments come as Trump has yet to announce a decision on whether or not he will attend next week’s Republican primary debate in Milwaukee. However, the former president has said he will not sign the pledge, which is a requirement for being on the stage.

That dynamic has put the RNC in a difficult situation in trying to appease Trump, who is major ratings draw and the clear front-runner for the GOP nomination, while maintaining the party’s authority and treating all of the candidates equally.

Fox News hosts are pushing Trump to join the Fox News GOP debate

The former president’s refusal to commit to the first debate of the 2024 cycle could make it a ratings wash-out. Aides say he’s unlikely to change his mind.

Despite the public pleadings of Fox News personalities, it’s the Republican National Committee that has been most active in lobbying him to attend. Trump met on Monday at his Bedminster club with Ronna McDaniel, the Republican Party chairwoman, and David Bossie, a longtime Trump adviser who is helping lead the RNC’s debate efforts. Both told Trump that he should participate in the debates, according to four people familiar with the meeting. McDaniel, in particular, has argued to Trump that the other candidates will be talking about him, so he should be there to respond. But Trump has countered that his participation would only help his competitors by bringing higher ratings to a debate that would get lower ratings without him. [Boldface added]

 

The Republican Party’s Debate Rules Make It Impossible for Trump to Lose [the GOP Nomination]

From polling minimums, loyalty pledges, and the GOP’s refusal to cooperate with the Commission for Presidential Debates—every scenario looks rosy for the ex-president.

[Excerpts:]

Appearing in the Republican presidential primary debates is no small feat. After skipping the events in the 2020 cycle to give then-President Donald Trump a default coronation, the GOP has erected around the 2024 debate stage the big, beautiful wall it can’t quite build on the southern border.

Some of the party’s requirements clearly function to establish viability. For instance, candidates must register support of at least 1 percent in select national and early primary state polls, and they must count at least 40,000 unique campaign donors in at least 20 U.S. states and territories.

But other rules are less about interest among the voting public and more about partisan discipline: Candidates will be barred from the stage unless they sign two pledges, one to support whomever the GOP eventually nominates for president, and the other to refuse to participate in any general election debate organized by the Commission for Presidential Debates (a bipartisan organization, cofounded by the Republican Party itself, which has overseen such debates since 1987 and already gives the GOP more control over the debates than it had in earlier decades).

These demands—as well as the party’s indication that it may select smaller, more right-wing outlets like Newsmax to host, rather than major networks like NBC—may seem like they create a level playing field for candidates. After all, they’ll all face the same moderators, whichever outlets host. And they’ll all have to meet the same numeric baselines and sign the same pledges.

But in practice, across the board, these conditions will be uniquely favorable for one contender: Trump.

His advantage in polling and donors is obvious. With two previous wins of the Republican nomination and four years in the White House, Trump has a preexisting national campaign apparatus and a voter base none of his challengers can match.

Trump may not technically have met these qualifications for the debate stage yet, because the GOP is only looking at polls from July 1 onward, but there’s no question about the outcome here.

“…with the loyalty pledge, Trump has an unmatched advantage of a different sort: Even by politician standards, he is extremely comfortable with lies.”

That lack of a national base makes the possible choice of smaller media hosts (as well as the rule about skipping the general election debates if the CPD organizes them) a more difficult condition for non-Trump candidates, too. Trump will be just fine if the primary debates have low viewership, or if the general race has no debates at all.

His challengers, DeSantis perhaps excepted, need that national attention. They need the Twitter clips and soundbites and the opportunity, however small, for a breakthrough moment—but their party doesn’t seem inclined to grant it.

Finally, with the loyalty pledge, Trump has an unmatched advantage of a different sort: Even by politician standards, he is extremely comfortable with lies.

He’s made some noises about refusing to commit to party loyalty, as he did for a while in 2016, when the pledge wasn’t a debate-stage prerequisite. If Trump holds firm in his refusal, my suspicion is Republican leadership will back off the demand, because debate viewership will tank if Trump’s not involved.

But if the GOP insists, as Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel recently said on Fox News, that “the pledge is staying and anybody who wants to seek the nomination of our party should pledge to support the voters,” my guess is Trump will sign it, then simply go back on his word if he’s not the nominee.

And that’s just a normal day for Donald J. Trump. I’m not even sure he’d register breaking his pledge as an act of bad faith. This is a man, after all, who believes his net worth is determined by his feelings, a man who seems to live in a perpetual now, utterly unencumbered by past promises or future aspirations. He’ll sign what he needs to sign and break what he wants to break.

 

Letters from an American, Heather Cox Richardson

July 5, 2023

Yesterday the official account of the Republican National Committee tweeted Independence Day greetings with a graphic of the Liberian flag, which has one star, rather than that of the United States, which has fifty.

Even more troubling was the tweet from Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) attributing to founder Patrick Henry a false quotation saying that “this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

Historian Seth Cotlar noted that the quotation actually came from the April 1956 issue of a virulently antisemitic white nationalist magazine, The Virginian.

The Head of the Republican Party Literally Said a Default Could Bode “Very Well” for the GOP

It’s easy to see why debt ceiling negotiations haven’t gone anywhere.

https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2023/05/republicans-debt-ceiling-negotiations

[Excerpt:]

With just over a week to go before an unprecedented default, the White House and Republicans still don’t have an agreement to raise the debt limit. That’s already imperiled the country’s credit rating, and will lead to an economic disaster if nothing changes in the coming days. But some in the GOP don’t seem particularly concerned. In fact, Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel suggested Wednesday that while a default would likely be bad for the country, it would be good for her party politically . . . 

The Justice Department has been gathering evidence about whether the former president and his allies solicited donations with claims of election fraud they knew to be false.

Maggie HabermanAlan Feuer and 

https://www.nytimes.com/2023/04/28/us/politics/jan-6-prosecutors-trump-fund-raising

[Excerpts:]

As they investigate former President Donald J. Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election, federal prosecutors have also been drilling down on whether Mr. Trump and a range of political aides knew that he had lost the race but still raised money off claims that they were fighting widespread fraud in the vote results, according to three people familiar with the matter.

Led by the special counsel Jack Smith, prosecutors are trying to determine whether Mr. Trump and his aides violated federal wire fraud statutes as they raised as much as $250 million through a political action committee by saying they needed the money to fight to reverse election fraud even though they had been told repeatedly that there was no evidence to back up those fraud claims.

The prosecutors are looking at the inner workings of the committee, Save America PAC, and at the Trump campaign’s efforts to prove its baseless case that Mr. Trump had been cheated out of victory.

But more recently, investigators have homed in on the activities of a joint fund-raising committee made up of staff members from the 2020 Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee, among others. Some of the subpoenas have sought documents from around Election Day 2020 up to the present.

Prosecutors have been heavily focused on details of the campaign’s finances, spending and fund-raising, such as who was approving email solicitations that were blasted out to lists of possible small donors and what they knew about the truth of the fraud claims, according to the people familiar with their work. All three areas overlap, and could inform prosecutors’ thinking about whether to proceed with charges in an investigation in which witnesses are still being interviewed.

The possibility that the fund-raising efforts might have been criminally fraudulent was first raised last year by the House select committee investigating Mr. Trump’s efforts to retain power.

But the Justice Department, with its ability to bring criminal charges, has been able to prompt more extensive cooperation from a number of witnesses. And prosecutors have developed more information than the House committee did, having targeted communications between Trump campaign aides and other Republican officials to determine if a barrage of fund-raising solicitations sent out after the election were knowingly misleading, according to the three people familiar with the matter.

On Thursday, former Vice President Mike Pence, a key witness to Mr. Trump’s efforts, testified for hours to the grand jury gathering evidence in the investigation.

Prosecutors have been looking at the nexus between research the Trump campaign commissioned almost immediately after the election to try to prove widespread fraud, public statements that he and his allies made at the time, the fund-raising efforts and the establishment of Save America.

The Washington Post reported earlier on the efforts by the campaign to fund research into claims of fraud and the new round of subpoenas.

Republicans may also argue that Democrats have been loose in claims they have used in fund-raising solicitations. And the Trump campaign may argue that it did in fact use the funds to try to investigate fraud.

A Trump campaign adviser said the “deep state” was ramping up its attacks on the former president as his poll numbers rose. “The ‘political police’ have been pushing their witch hunt since President Trump came down the escalator, and they’ve been proven wrong every single time,” the adviser added.

Officials with the Republican National Committee declined to comment.

Immediately after the election, an adviser to the Trump campaign reached out to Ken Block, the owner of a Rhode Island-based firm, Simpatico Software Systems, to have him evaluate specific allegations of fraud.

Mr. Block ended up researching multiple claims of possible fraud that Mr. Trump’s aides brought to him. He never produced a final report. But each time he investigated a claim, he said in an interview, he found there was nothing to it.

Mr. Block said he had disproved “everything that came in and found no substantive fraud sufficient to overturn an election result.” He said he was isolated from what was taking place within the campaign, as Mr. Trump railed at aides about staying in office and continued to insist he had won an election that he was repeatedly told he had lost.

“I was kept very walled off from all of the insanity,” said Mr. Block, whose firm was paid $735,000, records show. He received a subpoena for documents, but declined in the interview to discuss anything related to the grand jury.

Days after starting to work with Mr. Block and Simpatico, the Trump campaign hired a second firm, the Berkeley Research Group. The federal grand jury has received evidence that Berkeley was hired at the suggestion of Jared Kushner, Mr. Trump’s son-in-law, who was overseeing the political operation.

The grand jury has been asking questions related to whether Mr. Trump was briefed on findings by Berkeley suggesting there had been no widespread fraud.

The company ultimately submitted a report indicating there had been no fraud that would have changed the outcome of the election, and was paid roughly $600,000 for its work. The company was hired through a law firm that has long represented Mr. Trump in his personal capacity, Kasowitz Benson Torres, although lawyers there were not involved in pursuing Mr. Trump’s election fraud claims, according to a person briefed on the matter.

During the House Jan. 6 committee’s proceedings last year, several people close to Mr. Trump testified that they had informed him that there had been no fraud sufficient to change the outcome of the voting.

Within two weeks of the election, the Trump campaign’s own communications staff drafted an internal report debunking many aspects of a conspiracy theory that voting machines made by Dominion Voting Systems had been hacked and used to flip votes away from Mr. Trump. That report was written before pro-Trump lawyers like Sidney Powell and Rudolph W. Giuliani promoted the false Dominion story at news conferences and on television.

As part of its investigation into the Trump campaign’s postelection fund-raising, the Jan. 6 panel subpoenaed records from Salesforce.com, a vendor that helped the campaign and the Republican National Committee send emails to potential donors. The R.N.C. fought back, filing a lawsuit to quash the subpoena, and the House committee ultimately withdrew it.

[Boldface added]

 

GOP Chair Makes Delusional Promises on Behalf of Donald Trump

Ronna McDaniel believes Donald Trump will abide by everything he hasn’t in past years.

GOP chairwoman Ronna McDaniel painted a rosy picture of the Republican Party headed into the 2024 election on Sunday, namely a united front, candidates supporting one another, and Donald Trump accepting the results of an election.

Her picture, however, seemed devoid of the reality her party members have lived in.

In her first interview since her contentious reelection last month, McDaniel presented a mission statement of unity, one she said propelled her to a fourth term. “We can’t be so vicious and vitriolic with each other that we don’t want to support each other in the end,” she told CNN’s Dana Bash. “I’m already working to bring the committee together but I think this is a symbol of our party.”

She then made a litany of claims, including all Republican candidates will sign a pledge to support the eventual 2024 nominee in order to appear on the debate stage. “Everybody should support the will of the voters,” she said. “We’re not going to defeat Joe Biden if we get in this tit for tat of, ‘I’m not going to support this nominee or I’m not going to support this one.’ So that’s why we want to put this to bed early.”

But not everyone in McDaniel’s party agrees. Multiple prominent Republicans, including former House Speaker Paul Ryan, former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, and even McDaniel’s uncle Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), have all said they would not support Trump if he becomes the nominee in 2024.

The most notable, however, is Donald Trump. Trump told Hugh Hewitt earlier this month that his potential support “would depend on the nominee,” just as it was in 2016—on a GOP debate stage. McDaniel demurred, saying Trump would sign the pledge and debate. “I think President Trump would like to be on the debate stage. That’s what he likes to do,” she said.

Until he doesn’t. Trump famously skipped two 2016 primary debates, pointing to his distaste for Megyn Kelly and his general disinterest in debating John Kasich. Bash didn’t press McDaniel on his past precedent, but history has not offered support for McDaniel’s assertions.

McDaniel also promised the party would accept the 2024 election results, bullishly saying the nominee would accept “because they’re going to be the president” though acknowledging in any event the party would “move forward.”

That too, however, contradicts reality. Bash noted that McDaniel’s successor as Michigan GOP chairperson is an election denier, and Kari Lake—elevated as the speaker of CPAC’s prestigious Ronald Reagan Dinner—has made election-denying her brand. But none raises the bar more than Donald Trump, who has repeatedly railed against the 2020 election results nearly three years after voters ousted him.

Still, McDaniel feels hopeful for the party she’s chosen to govern.

“I will say the path forward is a united Republican Party,” she said. “We’ve got to find our way to be there.”

 

McDaniel wins reelection as RNC chair in contentious election

McDaniel wins reelection as RNC chair in contentious election

Ronna McDaniel won a fourth term to head the Republican National Committee (RNC) during a secret ballot vote by members on Friday, capping off a contentious election spurred by calls within the party for new leadership.

McDaniel fended off two challengers — California attorney Harmeet Dhillon and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, a staunch denier of the 2020 presidential election results.

She received 111 votes, while Dhillon received 51 and Lindell received four. Former Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.), who did not ultimately make a run for RNC chair, also received one vote. 

The last three elections have proven disappointing for Republicans: The party lost the House in 2018, lost the Senate and presidency in 2020 and only gained a thin majority in the House in 2022. Many in the party cited last November’s midterms as a reason to elect fresh blood, as McDaniel oversaw the RNC through the last three elections.

While the incumbent was predicted to win, the race was another example of intraparty tensions.

Some top Republicans, like former President Trump and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), avoided weighing in the race. But others waded in, including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who told Charlie Kirk, the founder of the conservative Turning Point USA, in an interview aired Thursday, “I think we need to get some new blood in the RNC.”

 

The GOP Establishment Is Clinging to the Base Harder Than Ever

An RNC Chair challenger makes a pitch to ‘Never Trumpers.’

https://presspass.thebulwark.com/p/the-gop-establishment-is-clinging

 

Ronna McDaniel Swears She’s Beating the Monster She Created

Ronna [Romney] McDaniel says she has commitments from more than 100 of the 168 Republican National Committee members who will decide whether she’s re-elected as RNC chair. And yet, a week before the election, no one’s quite sure that the race will be that simple—not even McDaniel herself.

At stake isn’t so much whether Republicans should turn the page from Donald Trump. Both McDaniel and her primary challenger, Harmeet Dhillon, are diehard Trump fans.

Dhillon, a frequent Fox News guest and California lawyer whose firm handled many of the 2020 election challenges for the RNC, has become a formidable opponent for McDaniel, partially thanks to a general malaise from the membership over the lackluster 2022 midterm results.d.

In a separate interview, McDaniel told The Daily Beast on Thursday that she has not asked Trump “or any 2024” candidate for help in the race, but repeated that she has a “great relationship” with the former president.

On Monday, Trump said on Real America’s Voice that he supports both McDaniel and Dhillon. “I mean, I get along with both of them. I haven’t taken a stance, you know, let them fight it out,” he said, confirming The Daily Beast’s previous reporting that Trump would stay out of the contentious RNC battle.

More than a month into the contest—which has devolved into a rat’s nest of accusations on various email chains—Dhillon’s persistence has, in fact, seemed to wear down some members.

“She’s like a dog with a bone. She is a very bright, a very focused person. I would call her somewhat unfeeling—and she has a bit of an ego—so she won’t believe she’s lost until she loses,” an RNC member told The Daily Beast, requesting anonymity to discuss the behind-the-scenes deliberations.

Then there’s the continued presence of MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, who landed a three-way debate on a conservative talk radio show during the winter meeting.

“The pillow guy, that’s kind of a joke and might make us have to take an extra vote or two,” a McDaniel ally said, with the caveat that Lindell would likely take more votes from Dhillon, should he manage to get nominated on the floor.

Lindell brought in reinforcements recently, tapping Sherronna Bishop—Rep. Lauren Boebert’s former campaign manager who was the target of an FBI raid in November—to run his seat-of-the-pants campaign for RNC chair.

“Harmeet Dhillon is an attorney, and that’s not what the audits show that the Republican Party needs,” Bishop said—before insisting that what is needed at the RNC is “marketing,” “messaging,” and “branding,” something she says Lindell is an expert at.

In an interview with The Daily Beast, Lindell insisted he’s on the path to a RNC victory, but declined to name any members publicly supporting his campaign. “I have many, many more than three,” Lindell said, referring to the number of states where he claims he’s secured two out of three members to nominate him. “Keeping Ronna under 85—because she is well under 85.”

As for Trump not backing his candidacy, Lindell blamed Fox News not advertising his run.

(Even though Lindell is not a committee member, he is eligible to run under the RNC rules.)

[Boldface added]

 

Five political events this year that will shape 2024

BY MAX GREENWOOD

01/14/23

[Excerpts:]

The Republican National Committee (RNC) is set to choose its next chair later this month when it meets in Dana Point, Calif. And while its current leader, Ronna McDaniel, is seeking another term in the GOP’s top organization post, her reelection isn’t as safe as she and her allies had hoped.

McDaniel, who has served as chair for nearly six years, was handpicked for the role by Trump after his surprise victory in the 2016 presidential contest. 

But she has faced increasing pressure from within the GOP after the party drastically underperformed in the 2022 midterm elections, when Republicans blew a chance at winning back control of the Senate and clinched only a narrow majority in the House.

And while McDaniel has earned a reputation as one of the former president’s most ardent defenders in the GOP, she’s facing challenges from two other Trump loyalists, RNC committee member Harmeet Dhillon and pillow salesman Mike Lindell, who has become one of the most vocal proponents of Trump’s false claim that the 2020 election was rigged against him.

[Boldface added]

Five political events this year that will shape 2024

Ronna McDaniel’s quest for a fourth term atop the Republican National Committee has triggered an ugly intraparty fight between the right and the farther right. Figuring out how to win back swing voters is not a top priority.

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/12/28/us/politics/ronna-mcdaniel-harmeet-dhillon-rnc.html

[Excerpts]

Many in the party have now found a scapegoat for the G.O.P.’s struggles who is not named Trump: the chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, Ronna McDaniel.

Ms. McDaniel, who was handpicked by Mr. Trump in late 2016 to run the party and whom he enlisted in a scheme to draft fake electors to perpetuate his presidency, could be considered a Trump proxy by Republicans eager to begin to eradicate what many consider to be the party’s pre-eminent problem: the former president’s influence over the G.O.P.

Those Republicans, whose voices have grown louder in the wake of the party’s weak November showing, see any hopes of wooing swing voters and moderates back to the G.O.P. as imperiled by Mr. Trump’s endless harping on his own grievances, the taint surrounding his efforts to remain in power after his 2020 defeat, and the continuing dramas around purloined classified documents, his company’s tax fraud conviction and his insistence on trying to make a political comeback.

But Ms. McDaniel is not facing moderation-minded challengers. Her rivals are from the Trumpist right. They include the pillow salesman Mike Lindell, who continues to spin out fanciful election conspiracies, and — more worrying for Ms. McDaniel — a Trump loyalist from California, Harmeet Dhillon, who is backed by some of Mr. Trump’s fiercest defenders, including the Fox News host Tucker Carlson and Charlie Kirk, the founder of Turning Point USA, a youthful group of pro-Trump rightists.

The candidacy of Mr. Lindell, the MyPillow chief executive who exemplifies the conspiracy-driven fringe, has put still more right-wing pressure on Ms. McDaniel, who refuses to say Joseph R. Biden Jr. was fairly elected in 2020. (Mr. Lindell’s latest conspiracy theory is that Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, Mr. Trump’s biggest rival so far for the 2024 presidential nomination, unfairly won re-election in November.)

“Consultants are running the building at the R.N.C.,” she told Mr. [Steve] Bannon before a cheering crowd. “Those consultants get paid whether we win or lose.”

All of this fighting is over a position whose salary topped $358,000 in 2022 but whose responsibilities are tangential to midterm elections at best.
[Boldface added]

REPUBLICANS ARE BETTING ON THE SAME OLD LOSERS TO SAVE THEIR PARTY IN 2024

The Republican National Committee plans on conducting a midterm postmortem led by Blake Masters, Kellyanne Conway, and far-right religious lobbyist Tony Perkins.

https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2022/11/rnc-commissions-review-of-2022-midterms

Fresh off an underwhelming midterm showing, the GOP is taking a step back to assess what went wrong in 2022 and how they can fix it in time for 2024. But based on the extremist figures they’ve brought on to lead the postmortem, it seems the party is already missing the message voters sent in November. 

Politico reported Tuesday that the Republican National Committee has commissioned a review of the party’s performance in the midterms, which saw them fail to take back the Senate and gain just a narrow House majority, despite all the talk of a “red wave” or “tsunami.” The goal, according to embattled RNC chair Ronna McDaniel, is to evaluate the last election in order to “chart a winning course in the years to come.” But the extremist figures the RNC has tapped to lead that audit are some of the very same losers that have brought the party into its current predicament. Among the supposedly “talented” conservatives tasked with leading the party back to victory: 

Kellyanne Conway, whose former boss has never won a popular vote and has tanked his own party in three consecutive elections now; 

Blake Masters, the far-right Peter Thiel-protégé who lost his Arizona Senate race by five points earlier this month; and 

Tony Perkins, the anti-gay religious extremist who supported Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election and who has spent decades practicing the precise brand of hardline social conservatism that voters rejected at the polls this cycle.

It’s not even clear how the “working with Ronna” part of Masters’ statement will shake out, when the RNC chair could soon be facing serious challenges to her post. Mike Lindell, the MyPillow CEO and leading 2020 election denier, says he will run to replace McDaniel as head of the committee.

It’s hard, maybe, to imagine such a campaign posing a real threat to McDaniel’s leadership, even though Trump—who has already launched his 2024 White House run—has seemingly expressed support for Lindell’s bid. (Lindell, who is running on an election-denial platform, suggested to Steve Bannon that he may not accept the results if he loses his bid to become RNC chair, setting up a kind of Big Lie Inception: “I would question any election which used a computer,” he told Bannon.)

“The right of ordinary men and women to determine their own political future lies at the heart of the American experiment.”

— George W. Bush, on extending the Voting Rights Act of 1965 for an additional 25 years.