Kristen Welker Grills Ronna McDaniel on RNC Chair’s Past: ‘Why Should People Trust What You’re Saying Right Now?’ | Video

NBC sparked backlash both inside and outside the network after it hired the former Republican Party chairwoman on Friday

NBC announced Friday that it had hired former RNC chair Ronna McDaniel to join its team before the 2024 election as an on-air contributor. McDaniel made her debut on the network in her first post-RNC interview on Sunday’s “Meet the Press,” where host Kristen Welker grilled her on her past. After highlighting McDaniel’s claims about election interference in 2020, Welker asked point-blank, “Why should people trust what you’re saying right now?”

Unfortunately for Welker and NBC viewers, McDaniel never had a solid answer to that question. The exchange was spicy from the beginning of the segment, leading to former “Meet the Press” anchor Chuck Todd calling out NBC for hiring McDaniel and putting Welker in the position to interview her to begin with.

Before the interview began, Welker noted that the interview was booked before news of McDaniel being hired as an on-air contributor.

After Welker asked if McDaniel was “pushed out” by Donald Trump and the Republican Party, the former chair replied in the affirmative. McDaniel explained that once Trump became the party’s presumptive nominee, “He absolutely wanted me to move aside and wanted Michael Whatley and Lara Trump to come in.” Trump’s daughter-in-law Lara Trump was then installed as the new RNC chair.

McDaniel attempted to malign the Democratic Party in Sunday’s interview with Welker, telling her that unlike the Republicans, the Democratic Party refused to hold debates for all potential 2024 candidates. As a result, “Now they have RFK Jr. running as a third party. Imagine how the world would be different if they’d have allowed those debates to take place? I think that’s so important to our public discourse.”

Welker didn’t take the bait on McDaniel’s Robert F. Kennedy Jr. boosterism. She instead pressed McDaniel on the next topic: whether or not Trump should be allowed to ask donors to pay his mounting legal fees.

McDaniel attempted to credit Trump for using Save America donations. Welker retorted, “But ultimately these donations are going first to pay his legal bills. People who may be struggling in some cases to make ends meet. Is there not an ethical challenge with that?”

For McDaniel, the answer was no. She said, “If they feel strongly to support his legal bills, then they have every right to do so.”

The conversation moved on to other hot topics, such as the people who were arrested, charged and convicted of crimes on and after Jan. 6. McDaniel insisted the violence “was unacceptable” and added, “It doesn’t represent our country. It certainly does not represent my party. We should not be attacking the Capitol. We should not be having violence. I said it that day. I put a statement out that day that this is not acceptable. If you attacked our Capitol and you have been convicted, then that should stay.”

After Welker asked if McDaniel agreed those in prison should be freed, McDaniel said no. So Welker continued, “Why not speak out earlier? Why just speak out about that now?”

McDaniel defended herself and argued that as the RNC chair, she had to “take one for the whole team.” Since being ousted from the party, she went on, “Now I get to be a little bit more myself, right?”

It was clear that Welker wasn’t going to let McDaniel have an easy time. After a heated back and forth about a phone call McDaniel and Trump made to the Wayne County, Michigan GOP in 2020, she asked, “Did you not have a responsibility as the RNC chair to say before January 6th, ‘The election is not rigged,’ that Donald Trump lost, given that there were audits, given that there were more than 60 court cases that occurred all across the country and that Donald Trump lost?”

“The reality is Joe Biden won. He’s the president. He’s the legitimate president,” McDaniel conceded before she continued to defend the phone call and insisted that “there were precincts that didn’t align. That’s a fact. That’s not propaganda. That’s a fact.”

On that same “Meet the Press,” NBC’s Chuck Todd made it clear in a conversation with Welker that he’s not happy McDaniel is his new coworker. After Welker told viewers that the interview with McDaniel had been booked weeks ahead of time and before she was hired, Todd said, “I think our bosses owe you an apology for putting you in this situation.”

“Look, there’s a reason why there’s a lot of journalists at NBC News uncomfortable with this,” he added. “Because many of our professional dealings with the RNC over the last six years have been met with gaslighting, have been met with character assassination.”

McDaniel’s hiring has been unwelcome news across the board at NBC and MSNBC. NBC News senior VP of politics Carrie Budoff Brown announced the news of the hire Friday in an internal memo in which she wrote, “It couldn’t be a more important moment to have a voice like Ronna’s on the team.”

“As we gear up for the longest general election season in recent memory, she will support our leading coverage by providing an insider’s perspective on national politics and on the future of the Republican Party — which she led through some of the most turbulent and challenging moments in political history.”

On Saturday, MSNBC’s president Rashida Jones said the network does not plan to bring McDaniel on any of the cable network’s programming. The news came NBC previously said the former RNC chair would appear across all of the network’s platforms.

Watch the full interview with Ronna McDaniel in the video above.


One response to “Kristen Welker Grills Ronna McDaniel on RNC Chair’s Past: ‘Why Should People Trust What You’re Saying Right Now?’ | Video”

  1. Manny Corpus Avatar
    Manny Corpus

    Ronna Romney lied nonstop during that interview and repeatedly injected GOP political talking points and digs at the Democrats … what kind of idiot would think to hire such a blatant partisan as an “analyst”?

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