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Ronna McDaniel


Ronna (Romney) McDaniel has served as chair of the Republican National Committee (RNC) since 2017, when Trump first recommended her for the position. In January 2023, RNC members reelected her for a fourth consecutive term despite a serious challenge from attorney Harmeet Dhillon, an RNC committeewoman from California who is among the faction arguing that the party needs to “radically reshape” its leadership in the wake of weak midterm results and other electoral losses.

Both women have ties to Trump since McDaniel became his staunch ally during her six years as chairwoman, helping to raise $1.5 billion for the GOP. Dhillon’s law firm represented the former president in his dealings with the House Select Committee investigating the attack on the Capitol, with the RNC paying more than $1 million for that legal work.

McDaniel is the niece of Senator Mitt Romney (R-Utah) and the granddaughter of the late George W. Romney (1907–95), a former Republican governor of Michigan. In 2015, she was elected state chair of Michigan’s Republican Party and served as Michigan’s 2016 delegate to the Republican National Convention. 

Early on in her tenure as RNC chair, McDaniel willingly spent money to make even more, increasing the organization’s fundraising contract with Parscale Strategy LLC and paying the firm more than $3 million in the first month. Brad Parscale, Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign manager, runs the firm and also founded the “dark money” 501(c)(4) America First Policies. Their efforts paid off that first year, with The Washington Post noting that the results gave the RNC “a huge financial edge heading into the 2018 midterm elections.” 

McDaniel was also at the center of a CBS News investigation for a “pay-to-play” scheme related to Doug Manchester’s nomination for the ambassadorship of the Bahamas. 

January 6, 2021

  • McDaniel led efforts within the Republican Party to censure Representatives Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) and Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) for their willing participation in the House Select Committee investigating the attack on the Capitol.
  • That same censure measure described the violent attack that disrupted the congressional proceedings underway that day as “legitimate political discourse.”
  • In October 2022, McDaniel was still defending Trump’s behavior, rhetoric, tweets, and lack of intervention on Jan. 6, saying that he “did not cause people to go commit violence.”

The Big Lie