Ronna Romney McDaniel, who as state Republican chair helped deliver Michigan to a Republican presidential nominee for the first time since 1988 and had to navigate some thorny family politics to do so, became national party chairman today with President-elect Donald Trump’s backing.
Meeting in Washington’s Omni Shoreham Hotel, Romney McDaniel was elected chairman of the party by the Republican National Committee a day before Trump takes the oath of office on the west portico of the U.S. Capitol. She becomes the second female chairman of the committee in its history.
“Thank you for investing your trust in me to lead this committee in an exciting new era,” Romney McDaniel said. She added, “I am a mom from Michigan. I am an outsider. And I am here to make Donald Trump and Republicans everywhere successful.”
Her vote was by acclamation — which wasn’t surprising given that the president-elect had given her his endorsement for the post last month.
By ascending to the post, Romney McDaniel takes over a party emboldened by Trump’s stunning election in November, which was largely brought about by the Republican nominee breaking through what was considered a Democratic firewall in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — three states which together hadn’t backed a Republican nominee since Ronald Reagan in 1984.
Trump won the three states together by less than 80,000 votes, or about six-tenths of a percent of the 14 million votes cast in those three states. In Michigan, the margin was under 11,000 votes.
Romney McDaniel led the Michigan Republican Party even as her own family split over Trump’s candidacy. Her uncle, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, the party’s nominee for president in 2012, loudly denounced Trump, saying his boorish behavior disqualified him from being president. But Romney McDaniel served as a Trump delegate and continued to try to get her uncle to switch his loyalties.
“President-elect Tump’s movement gave the forgotten and the ignored a voice and the power to bring change Washington,” she said.
Her grandfather was the late George Romney, a three-term governor of Michigan in the 1960s and President Richard Nixon’s secretary of Housing and Urban Development.
“I’m very proud. She’s fantastic,” said her father and Mitt’s brother, attorney G. Scott Romney, who attended the meeting to elect her. “I think she handled herself superbly.”
“No question this will be the biggest challenge of her life,” he added, saying he knows she’s up to it.
In her speech, Romney McDaniel criticized the Democratic Party as being “the elite, coastal, redistributionist party of the status quo” and called Republicans “the national, opportunity-for-everyone, party of change.”
“Whether you have been left behind by the stagnant economy, the failed promises of Obamacare, or the general belief that the government treats its citizens as an afterthought, we hear you,” she said. “To the factory worker in Erie, Pa., we hear you. To the woman at the salon in Ypsilanti, we hear you.”
She also said she was “humbled” to become the party’s second female chairman and its first since the 1970s, saying, “For too long, Democrats have hailed themselves as the party of women. … Women are not a special interest group. We care about all issues.”.
The RNC is a 168-member body that coordinates national platforms, fundraising and policies for the party. Its former chairman, Reince Priebus, is headed to the White House to be Trump’s chief of staff.
“I step away from this job fully satisfied that we on this committee have accomplished our goals,” said Priebus, who was elected party chairman in 2011.
“You can’t do much better than Ohio and Michigan on election night,” said Priebus. “Ronna led the demolition team that took down the defunct Democratic blue wall. … She barely slept this cycle because she was so focused on winning.”
“Ronna knew what she was doing,” he said. “She is the right woman to lead the RNC and it is time for a woman to lead the RNC.”
SOURCE: Todd Spangler
Detroit Free Press