The Republican National Committee is expected to settle a nasty leadership dispute by the end of the week. The conflict has revealed dangerous splits inside the body tasked with choosing the next Republican president.
Insiders predict that the days leading up to Friday’s secret vote at a posh beachside resort might become even more ugly as rebel forces inside the Make America Great Again movement of former President Donald Trump attempt to derail RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel’s reelection quest.
The assaults have been spearheaded by McDaniel’s main adversary, Harmeet Dhillon, a Trump lawyer who has charged the incumbent of intolerance towards some religions, persistent overspending, and secretly asserting she has authority over the previous president. McDaniel has denied these accusations. My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell, a pro-Trump conspiracy theorist who received sufficient support to be included on the ballot, is also running.
Trump chose McDaniel for the job soon after his 2016 victory, but he hasn’t publicly endorsed him. Instead, he and his team are privately supporting him. However, a lot of Trump supporters blame McDaniel, the niece of Utah senator Mitt Romney, for the party’s recent difficulties.
In a conversation, Dhillon argued that a change in leadership at the RNC is what the vast majority of Republican people desire. He threatened any of the 168 elected members of the committee who supported McDaniel’s reelection with dire political repercussions.
The next time they’re up for election, it’s going to be a problem for those members of the party that vote not with what the people in their state want but with what their own self-interest is, Dhillon told The Associated Press.
When McDaniel was informed about Dhillon’s statement, he remarked, That sounds like a threat. She denounced the committee’s splits as well as the increasingly vulgar attacks on her.
Democrats have taken more pleasure from this than anyone else. I am aware of this because I enjoy seeing them battle, McDaniel added.
The vote for RNC chair on Friday is the most recent strong leadership test for a bitterly divided Republican Party that is considering its future and the impact of Trump before of the 2024 presidential election. House Republicans nearly exchanged blows earlier this month before coming together to support House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who was undercut by the same MAGA forces that are challenging McDaniel this week.
Trump has fought in both situations to maintain control over his own supporters, who appear determined to upend the established quo at all costs, whether it be McCarthy or McDaniel.
Republicans from the party’s MAGA wing in Florida pushed last Friday to hold a vote of no confidence in McDaniel in an effort to sway the vote, as have Republican groups in a few other states in recent weeks. Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., a vocal McCarthy critic, attended the Florida event, but it was well short of the quorum required to conduct an official vote.
However, some anti-McDaniel demonstrators carried signs and stood outside the gathering. RONNA IS THE ENEMY WITHIN, read one of them.
Those with intimate knowledge of the matter claim that Trump has declined McDaniel’s desire to comment on the RNC chair contest. Although the former president would support her if she asked, McDaniel’s team currently feels she will win without his open endorsement, allowing her to keep a sense of objectivity going into the 2024 presidential primary season.
The RNC must abstain from voting in the presidential primaries in accordance with its regulations. Trump is the only Republican candidate who has officially declared thus far, but more well-known opponents are anticipated in the coming months.
Nevertheless, if public support is considered necessary before Friday’s vote, Trump might end up endorsing McDaniel, according to people who are familiar with his thinking who, like the others interviewed, spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.
Susie Wiles, Chris LaCivita, and Clayton Henson, three senior aides to Trump, are planned to attend this week’s three-day RNC winter conference in Southern California, where the voting will take place. Despite not officially attending on McDaniel’s behalf, Trump’s team is making it known through personal interactions that he supports McDaniel.
Former Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway, former Trump top of staff Reince Priebus, former Arizona Senate candidate Blake Masters, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, and conservative commentator Hugh Hewitt are all anticipated to be on McDaniel’s unofficial whip squad, according to her. David Bossie, a Maryland RNC member and another well-known Trump supporter, is also endorsing McDaniel.
Dhillon stated over the weekend that her team would probably include former Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake, MAGA influencer Charlie Kirk, and country artist John Rich. However, the guest list is still in change.
After 3 straight unsuccessful presidential elections, both Republican voters and RNC members are generally dissatisfied with the state of their party. Even while McDaniel is seen as a close Trump ally and many Trump supporters outside the RNC membership perceive her as inadequately dedicated to their cause, some are growing more eager to move on from Trump and, by extension, McDaniel.
She’s been Trump’s lap dog for more than four years, according to Bill Palatucci, a New Jersey-based RNC member and outspoken opponent of both Trump and McDaniel. Despite the fact that Palatucci officially endorsed Dhillon late last week, he is dubious about her ability to defeat McDaniel.
In recent weeks, Dhillon has launched a barrage of criticisms on McDaniel that have reverberated across Trump’s MAGA movement. However, Dhillon might have turned off potential supporters on the actual Republican National Committee, which is made up of activists and elected officials from all 50 states, while the far right applauded.
She has focused on a number of instances of alleged waste and poor management that occurred under McDaniel’s direction, which McDaniel’s team, supported by former Trump officials like Wiles, contends are false or misleading.
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