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RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel slams her uncle Mitt Romney to defend Trump

Ronna McDaniel, formerly Ronna Romney McDaniel, has picked a side in the Trump vs. Romney fight.

RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel at a Make America Great Again rally in Michigan in April 2018.
RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel at a Make America Great Again rally in Michigan in April 2018.
Junfu Han/Detroit Free Press/TNS via Getty Images

Incoming Sen. Mitt Romney’s op-ed criticizing President Donald Trump isn’t going over particularly well with his niece — which generally wouldn’t be a big deal, except she happens to be the chair of the Republican National Committee.

Ronna McDaniel, who used to go by Ronna Romney McDaniel, in a tweet on Wednesday responded to Romney’s Tuesday Washington Post op-ed in which he criticized the president for lacking the “character” he deems necessary for occupying the Oval Office.

President Trump responded to Romney’s critiques earlier in the day by comparing him to Trump critic and former Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and calling on him to be a “team player.” McDaniel echoed the critique, saying that it is “disappointing and unproductive” for an “incoming Republican freshman senator” — as in, her uncle — to attack Trump.

Romney, who will be sworn in as a US senator representing Utah on Thursday, criticized Trump in the Post op-ed for not having “risen to the mantle” of the presidency.

“With the nation so divided, resentful and angry, presidential leadership in qualities of character is indispensable,” he wrote. “And it is in this province where the incumbent’s shortfall has been most glaring.”

Ronna and Uncle Mitt might want to have a chat

It’s not particularly surprising that McDaniel would back Trump. She stopped using her full name publicly after Trump reportedly joked about the matter with her.

“You know the job you’re signing up for,” she told the New York Times in an interview in January 2018.

McDaniel has largely been deferential to the president since becoming RNC chair in December 2016, including deciding to put RNC resources back into the 2017 US Senate special election in Alabama to support Republican candidate Roy Moore. Moore was accused of sexual misconduct by multiple women, and the RNC subsequently backed away from supporting him, only to eventually come back to his side amid tensions with Trump. The Washington Post reported at the time that McDaniel wanted to “quickly show the RNC was loyal.”

Her uncle objected then, too.

In June 2018, McDaniel tweeted that anyone who does not embrace Trump’s “agenda of making America great again will be making a mistake.” Many observers condemned the tweet as a thinly veiled threat to Trump’s critics, and McDaniel later clarified — but didn’t retract — the remarks.

McDaniel, at least for the foreseeable future, appears to have chosen party over family. In the January 2018 Times interview, she talked about potential family disputes, but in reference to the GOP, not blood relatives.

“If you’re spending more time attacking your fellow Republicans, you’re not helping us win in November,” she said, later adding, “I used to say if you have a fight within your family, you don’t go on Jerry Springer.”

McDaniel and her uncle may not take it to Springer, but she is sparring with him on Twitter.