Although she has downplayed the relationship in recent years given her uncle’s animosity toward former President Donald Trump, Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel is the niece of U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT).
Facing intraparty backlash over the GOP’s electoral performances since she took the position in 2017 and the committee’s seemingly excessive spending under her watch, McDaniel confirmed this week that she would be stepping down after the South Carolina primary on Feb. 24.
Romney, who previously announced his impending retirement, spoke out in support of his niece after the news broke.
“She’s done her best to help elect Republicans and done her job,” the senator said.
He went on to affirm that he has “nothing but love and affection” for McDaniel, citing her eight-year stint as RNC chair as “almost a record.”
Her critics, however, argue that those eight years have been dominated by missteps that have cost the party important victories along the way. Then-candidate Vivek Ramaswamy said during a presidential primary debate in November that McDaniel’s leadership is a central reason the GOP has become a “party of losers” in recent years.
The following week, he reiterated his position by launching a “Fire Ronna” campaign aimed at building support for McDaniel’s ouster.
I am sick & tired of this Republican Establishment that has made us a party of losers. Where is the accountability for years of losing: 2018, 2020, 2022 and now 2023? A week ago on the GOP Debate stage, I called on Ronna Romney McDaniel to resign. Now, I'm asking grassroots…
— Vivek Ramaswamy (@VivekGRamaswamy) November 15, 2023
Trump, who continues to maintain a dominating lead in his campaign to secure a third-straight GOP presidential nomination, offered some praise for McDaniel’s work over the years but confirmed his belief that the time had come to replace her at the helm of the RNC.
“In my successful run in 2016, the State of Michigan really came through — First time in Decades that it was won by a Republican, and it was headed up by my friend Ronna McDaniel,” he wrote in a statement prior to her announcement. “Ronna is now Head of the RNC, and I’ll be making a decision the day after the South Carolina Primary as to my recommendations for RNC Growth.”
During a Newsmax TV interview prior to his meeting with McDaniel at his Mar-A-Lago resort in Florida, however, he seemed to acknowledge that she was on her way out.
“I think she knows that,” he said. “I think she understands that.”