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What Is NBC News Even Thinking Hiring Ronna McDaniel?

The New Republic
NBC raised eyebrows Friday when it announced that former Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel will join the network as an on-air contributor.

McDaniel, who stepped down from the RNC at the start of this month, will provide conservative political analysis on NBC and its affiliate MSNBC. She makes her on-air debut on Sunday.

NBC News political coverage chief Carrie Budoff Brown explained that McDaniel was chosen because she can provide “an insider’s perspective on national politics and the future of the Republican Party.”

That insider knowledge is apparently enough for NBC to overlook the rest of McDaniel’s history. Although she disagreed with Donald Trump in recent months, McDaniel was still one of his biggest allies in the party. She repeatedly elevated his claims and conspiracies, including that the 2020 election had been rigged and that mail-in voting allowed for fraudulent ballots to be cast.

McDaniel was elected RNC chair in 2017, at first with Trump’s support, although the former president first insisted she drop her maiden name (Romney) to win his support and show loyalty. She was reelected four times and helped to transform the party into the mirror of Trump that it is now.

But Trump eventually turned on her because she refused to crown him the Republican presidential nominee and instead opted for a contested primary. Trump eventually clinched the nomination on his own, but not before he decided he’d rather have two absolute loyalists at the helm of the RNC.

The GOP in general has also soured on McDaniel because she failed massively at the two main parts of her job: fundraising and winning elections—thanks in large part to her embrace of Donald Trump.

By the end of October, the RNC had a little more than $9.1 million in its coffers, the smallest amount in nearly a decade. McDaniel insisted there was “nothing unusual” about the low funds.

Republicans also suffered wave after wave of bruising losses, from the 2022 midterm elections to, most recently, the special election for former representative and serial fabulist George Santos’s seat in New York. The party has largely blamed McDaniel for the defeats, even as many of the failed candidates mostly embraced Trump’s policies and talking points.

So given the facts that McDaniel was both bad at her job and is now on the outs with her own party, it’s unclear what analysis of value she has to offer NBC. Instead, her hiring looks more like a shameless grab for viewers.

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