The head of the Republican National Committee said in an interview Monday she now regrets not pushing back against former Trump campaign lawyers who spread theories of machine ballot fraud during the November election.
Ronna McDaniel told The New York Times that she was “concerned” about claims made by Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell, especially, during a press conference at RNC headquarters. Among those claims was that Dominion Voting System machines were programmed to change votes from then-President Donald Trump to then-Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.
“When I saw some of the things Sidney was saying, without proof, I certainly was concerned it was happening in my building,” McDaniel said. “There are a whole host of issues we had to deal with — what is the liability of the RNC, if these allegations are made and unfounded?”
Trump’s legal team also claimed during their Nov. 19 presser that Democratic operatives had organized in key battleground states to manipulate rules in order to steal ballots for Biden, an allegation that has also been made by others, including Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and conservative pundit and author Mark Levin.
“This was not an individual idea of 10 or 12 Democrat bosses. This was a plan. You would have to be a fool not to realize that,” Giuliani said at the time.
In her interview, McDaniel also addressed the widening chasm within the GOP between so-called ‘establishment Republicans’ and populist supporters of Trump, the latter of which dominate the party’s base by a long shot.
She said that differences among party members ought not to be debated in public.
“If you have a family dispute, don’t go on ‘Jerry Springer,’” she told the Times. “Do it behind closed doors. It’s my role to call them and explain that if we don’t keep our party united and focused on 2022, we will lose. If we are attacking fellow Republicans and cancel culture within our own party, it is not helpful to winning majorities.”
That said, McDaniel went on to tell the Times that she has no intention of imposing a system whereby all decisions about the party’s future come from leadership, adding that the party’s role is to remain neutral in primaries.
That could change, however, if she believes more extreme behavior among some candidates is evident.
“It depends if there’s more egregious things, if there’s a David Duke situation,” she said, going on to address a freshman Republican from Georgia who has become a lightning rod for the party, thanks in large part to Democrats who have picked up on some of her past social media posts.
“Marjorie Taylor Greene is trying to distance herself from those things and there’s going to be an investigation. I trust the voters. I have a lot of faith in the voters to pick who’s best to represent them,” McDaniel told the Times.
Greene, who represents Georgia’s 14th Congressional District, won by a landslide Nov. 3, defeating Democratic contender Kevin Van Ausdal 74.6 percent to 25.3 percent out of more than 307,000 votes cast.
Meanwhile, a number of Republican strategists say that pronouncing the GOP dead in the water is extremely premature. They note that once President Biden and majority Democrats in Congress start pushing their agenda, Republicans will unite in opposition.
“Over time, the Pelosi-Schumer-Biden agenda, in that order, will unite the Republican Party,” Marc Short, former Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, told the Times as he described Taylor Greene as a GOP “outlier.”
He went on to say “the obituaries of the GOP are premature.”