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Ronna McDaniel’s RNC exit came after ‘tension’ with Trump campaign over 2024 debates

Tumult inside NBC over the network’s decision to hire former Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel as a contributor spilled onto the airwaves Sunday.

Former “Meet the Press” anchor Chuck Todd blasted the network for the move during a panel on the show Sunday, contending McDaniel’s hiring made his successor’s job more difficult.

“Our bosses owe you an apology for putting you in this situation,” Todd — now the network’s chief political analyst — told Kristen Welker on “Meet the Press” Sunday.

“There’s a reason why there’s a lot of journalists at NBC News uncomfortable with this.”

Welker had to give a disclaimer before her interview with McDaniel Sunday that it was booked before her contract with NBC was announced.

“You got put into an impossible situation, booking this interview,” Todd said. “And then all of a sudden the rug was pulled out from under you, and you find out she’s being paid to show up? It is unfortunate for this program, but I am glad you did the best that you could.”

During the interview, McDaniel suggested that her ouster as party boss stemmed from Donald Trump’s irritation at her push for debates in the 2024 primary race.

McDaniel stepped down as RNC chair earlier this month amid a Trump-backed leadership shakeup that saw her replaced by Michael Whatley, with Trump campaign senior adviser Chris LaCivita becoming COO and Don’s daughter-in-law Lara Trump ascending to party co-chair.

“There’s no question that as RNC chair you have to remain neutral and we had a primary process. So we did have debates,” McDaniel told NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday. “There was tension and a little friction that started during that process.”

Trump, now the presumptive nominee who is also facing a slew of federal felony charges, skipped all of the 2024 GOP debates.

“I knew at that point when I was doing that role, and we were going to have debates that when the nominee came forward and it was likely to be President Trump that they would want to switch,” McDaniel added.

She defended the move by juxtaposing the GOP with Democrats who eschewed debates and now have to contend with environmental lawyer Robert F. Kennedy Jr. running as an Independent.

Trump, 77, met with McDaniel before endorsing a replacement. He had initially backed her to take over the party apparatus after he won the presidency in 2016.

She defended the move by juxtaposing the GOP with Democrats who eschewed debates and now have to contend with environmental lawyer Robert F. Kennedy Jr. running as an Independent.

Critics of McDaniel pointed to the GOP’s poor electoral record under her tenure and the anemic fundraising numbers posted over recent months.

Last year — adjusted for inflation — the RNC weathered its worst fundraising year in three decades, raking in just $87.2 million and concluding the year with $8 million cash on hand, per the Federal Election Commission.

By contrast, the DNC reaped $119 million and finished off the year with around $21 million cash on hand, according to the FEC.

“We don’t pick the candidates, we’re turnout,” McDaniel said about the GOP’s electoral performance under her watch. “What I say to people is we’re building the road that all the candidates drive on … the road wasn’t the problem. It’s candidate to candidate.”

“So I view my tenure as RNC chair as a success.”

No longer bound by the obligations of being the party boss, McDaniel spoke more candidly about the Jan. 6 Capitol riot and seemingly pushed back on Trump’s characterizations of those arrested as “hostages.”

“I want to be very clear, the violence that happened on January 6 is unacceptable. It doesn’t represent our country,” she said. “If you attacked our Capitol and … you’ve been convicted, then that should stay.”

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