Even as Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel clings to the support of establishment figures in her party, a growing wave of criticism is threatening to derail her bid to win another term in the leadership position.
The latest controversy involves reports that the RNC used contributions to fund lavish trips, private flights, and luxury purchases over the course of McDaniel’s term as chairwoman. Since 2017, the committee has reportedly spent more than $3 million to reserve private jets plus another $1.3 million on chauffeured transportation on the ground.
As Federal Elections Commission records indicate, the RNC also spent more than $17 million over the same period on gifts to donors.
A number of critics compared the situation to wasteful spending by the committee more than a decade ago, which led to the ouster of then-RNC Chair Michael Steele.
Why did @GOPChairwoman okay the RNC spending $17 MILLION on gifts including $700,000 on floral arrangements?
Vote Ronna McDaniel out! Who’s with me? 🙋🏻♂️
— Proud Elephant 🇺🇸🦅 (@ProudElephantUS) December 15, 2022
Country music star and one-time RNC donor John Rich joined Fox News Channel’s Tucker Carlson to discuss his reaction to the latest reports, noting that he refuses to send the committee any more money until it elects new leaders.
He recalled RNC ads in the aftermath of former President Donald Trump’s 2020 re-election loss in which the committee solicited donations as part of a supposed campaign to fight on Trump’s behalf. Behind the scenes, he argued, party leaders were trying to excise the former president’s influence from the GOP.
“These people are scoundrels, they’re liars, this is a bait and switch,” Rich added. “They are abusing their position with the conservatives around this country.”
Suggesting that the current crop of party leaders should be called “Judas Republicans because they betrayed the trust of the people,” he urged other Republicans to join him in abstaining from future donations.
“Until they have new leadership that we can trust, that speaks like us, talks like us, and supports what we support, don’t send them another red cent,” he concluded. “I know I won’t and I hope nobody else does, either.”
Even before the FEC reports became public this week, McDaniel had been facing mounting backlash over her lackluster record as chairwoman — particularly in light of the underwhelming performance of Republican candidates nationwide in the recent midterm elections.
She will face at least two rivals, MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell and attorney Harmeet Dhillon, when the RNC meets next month to elect its next leader.