Ronna McDaniel speaks before the Republican presidential primary debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif., in September. Melina Mara/The Washington Post file

Ronna McDaniel, who stepped down as chairwoman of the Republican National Committee this month, will join NBC News as a political analyst, angering media critics because of her work to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

McDaniel, who has questioned whether Joe Biden won the presidential election fairly, left her position at the RNC after former president Donald Trump had become increasingly frustrated with her leadership.

McDaniel joins the mainstream media while the GOP focuses on “election integrity,” a mission to prepare thousands of poll workers to monitor in-person voting and lawyers to challenge ballots. The strategy is an outgrowth of the one the party used both before the 2020 election and after, when Trump sought to overturn the result, according to The Washington Post. Although McDaniel said she recognizes Biden as the 46th president of the United States, she has fueled skepticism about the validity of the 2020 result.

In an interview with CNN’s Chris Wallace last year, McDaniel said Biden hadn’t won the 2020 presidential election fairly.

“I think there were lots of problems with 2020. Ultimately, he won the election, but there were lots of problems with the 2020 election,” she said. “But I don’t think he won it fair. I don’t. I’m not going to say that.”

McDaniel and her team also helped Trump fight his 2020 election loss in battleground states such as Pennsylvania, and she took part in the effort to assemble an alternate slate of electors, according to The Post.


Critics have slammed NBC’s decision to hire McDaniel, noting those efforts.

Former MSNBC host Mehdi Hasan criticized the choice Friday, listing the ways McDaniel attempted to subvert the election and her previous criticisms of the network.

“McDaniel lied about the 2020 election result, was involved in a pressure campaign to get Michigan officials not to certify the vote, and has accused MSNBC of ‘spreading lies’ and employing ‘prime time propagandists,’” Hasan posted on X.

Victor Pickard, a professor of media policy and political economy at the University of Pennsylvania, called the move a “crass commercial decision.”

“This latest move doesn’t bode well for their editorial decisions going into the 2024 election season, especially as they cover election denialism and other antidemocratic tactics repeatedly deployed by the Trump campaign,” Pickard said.

In a memo shared with The Post, Carrie Budoff Brown, who oversees NBC News’s political coverage, stressed the importance of having “a voice like Ronna’s on the team” during an election year.


“As we gear up for the longest general election season in recent memory, she will support our leading coverage by providing an insider’s perspective on national politics and on the future of the Republican Party – which she led through some of the most turbulent and challenging moments in political history,” the memo continues. “And as a longtime Michigan resident, she’ll be an important voice from one of this year’s key battlegrounds.”

Budoff Brown noted that the network “has a legacy of serving its audience through reporting that reflects and examines the diverse perspectives of American voters.”

McDaniel will make her debut Sunday on NBC’s morning talk show “Meet the Press,” which is scheduled to host retired Supreme Court justice Stephen G. Breyer. She is also expected to provide commentary on MSNBC, the network’s sister cable channel, though it was unclear when she would appear there.

Michael Steele, another former RNC leader, is an MSNBC contributor. Shortly after McDaniel announced her exit, Steele criticized her for fostering “disunity” in the party and said the RNC should focus on policy instead of internal squabbles.

McDaniel was the second woman to lead the RNC and the group’s longest-serving chair. She was expected to remain on the job until her term expired in 2025, but she drew intense criticism from Republicans – namely Trump – over the party’s performance in the 2022 midterm elections and fundraising, as well as her refusal to cancel the party’s primary debates that featured Trump’s challengers. McDaniel, a niece of Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, and granddaughter of former Michigan governor George Romney, faced questions about her loyalty to Trump.

But the crux of Trump’s frustration with McDaniel hinged on fights over money and the 2020 election, according to The Post. During that race, the Trump campaign and the RNC clashed regularly. Campaign officials said the RNC was not sufficiently supporting it financially, and the RNC argued that it was doing as much as it could and that Trump’s operation was flawed.

The RNC did not respond to a request for comment Saturday morning.

Trump is a frequent critic of NBC and MSNBC. He has accused the network of being an arm of the Democratic Party, said it is trying to stop him from winning the 2024 election and threatened to investigate Comcast, the parent company of NBCUniversal, NBC News and MSNBC, over the outlet’s coverage of him if he is elected in his rematch against Biden this fall.

Related Headlines

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: