RNC chair says she would debate Mike Lindell, but the general public wouldn’t be invited

Embattled Republican National Committee chair Ronna McDaniel said on Friday that she’s open to debating MyPillow founder Mike Lindell and attorney Harmeet Dhillon, but only privately.

As previously reported, both Lindell and Dhillon are challenging McDaniel’s chairmanship.

Speaking on Steve Bannon’s “War Room” podcast on Friday, McDaniel was asked whether she’d be willing to debate them.

McDaniel replied that she would — but stressed that she’d only be interested in debating them in front of the RNC’s 168 voting members, not the general public.

Listen:

“Would you be open with the 168, or a broader audience in a town hall, would you be open to having Harmett and Mike Lindell, the two people that have thrown their hat in the ring, to do a Q&A – to do it like a debate and defend your record of accomplishment?” Bannon asked.

“I’m always happy to talk to the 168. So, I’m talking to them every day,” McDaniel replied.

“But would you be open to do it in a more public forum so this stuff could be aired?” Bannon then pressed.

“I’m interested in doing things in front of the 168, that’s what I’m interested in doing,” the RNC chair responded.

The remarks come amid a growing movement to oust her over her abysmal performance as RNC chair: She’s presided over three straight failed elections, including in 2018, 2020, and 2022.

Indeed, the remarks come only days after the executive committee of the Texas GOP voted 62-0 on Tuesday for a resolution calling for new leadership at the RNC.

“Under Chairwoman McDaniel’s leadership, the GOP lost both houses of Congress and the White House, and seriously underperformed in 2022 by further losing ground in the Senate and only barely winning a majority in the House,” the resolution states.

“The grassroots have lost faith in Chairwoman McDaniel and the RNC and believes the party needs new leadership that will address deficiencies in fundraising, messaging, GOTV and election integrity and put the party in closer alignment with its grassroots supporters and voters,” it continues.

The Arizona GOP called for even more drastic action — McDaniel’s outright resignation, to be exact, and then her replacement — earlier this month.

“[T]he Executive Committee of the Republican Party of Arizona hereby formally
calls on the resignation of Ronna Romney McDaniel as Chairwoman of the Republican National Committee and thanks her for her tireless work for the past 6 years,” the party’s own resolution reads.

“[T]he Executive Committee of the Republican Party of Arizona calls on the members of the Republican National Committee to elect new and bold leadership in the January 2023 meeting in order to recast a courageous vision to contrast with the disastrous failing policies implemented by the Biden Administration,” it continues.

The problem is that McDaniel is deeply entrenched and thus extraordinarily difficult to oust. How so? For one, she’s liked by former President Donald Trump.

“McDaniel is a Trump loyalist, and this is still the former president’s party. Trump stacked the RNC with members friendly to him while he was president and they’re not about to ditch his preferred choice for the job,” Politico reported Wednesday.

“That explains how McDaniel — within weeks of the midterms — was able to secure a commitment from 107 of the RNC’s 168 members that they would vote for her for another term at the committee’s annual meeting in late January. That’s more than enough votes to win,” according to the left-wing outlet.

Also, she’s apparently skilled at raising money.

“McDaniel has also been effective at one of the most important tasks of a party chairman — raking in the bucks. RNC members value and appreciate that. The RNC enjoyed a fundraising advantage over the Democratic National Committee during Trump’s term and McDaniel can point to record fundraising during her tenure,” according to Politico.

In a memo filed last month, the RNC reportedly announced it’d raised $308 million during the 2022 election cycle thanks to McDaniel.

“This effort has been led by Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, who has traveled 521,000 miles and participated in 333 fundraising events across 37 states and territories for Republican candidates,” the memo reads.

(Source: RNC memo)

So as you can clearly see, she already boasts several major advantages. That said, do Republican voters themselves really care about the RNC’s fundraising? Conservative radio show host Erick Erickson doubts it.

“Republican voters think the RNC is about winning elections. The men and women [in the RNC] think the RNC chair [position] is about raising money,” he said to Politico.

Not everybody in the RNC, actually. Take RNC member Bill Palatucci. He’s expressed support for Dhillon because he believes McDaniel has become Trump’s “tool,” according to Politico.

“He cited her decisions to stay silent on some of Trump’s more egregious behavior and to spend millions of dollars on his legal fees,” the AP reported Saturday.

“There’s just gotta be a change,” he said.

Of course, the actual vote for a new (or the same old) chair won’t occur until January, and when it does happen, anything’s possible.

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Vivek Saxena

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