The chairwoman of the Republican National Committee still considers Rep. Liz Cheney part of the team after the Wyoming GOP booted her from their ranks.
At the same time, Ronna McDaniel, who has led the RNC since 2017, understands why the Wyoming GOP passed their resolution ousting Ms. Cheney.
“The Wyoming GOP took their actions, obviously she is still a Republican,” Mrs. McDaniel said Thursday at a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor. “But I get [it], from a state party standpoint, when you have a congressperson or senator who is not supporting your state party, who is not talking about electing Republicans up and down the ballot.”
Mrs. McDaniel said people should also “be taking notice” that state parties are close to the party’s grassroots and “really represent where the party is in their state.”
“She still has an ‘R’ next to her name. I wish she was talking about electing ‘Rs’ more,” she said.
Mrs. McDaniel said her overall approach heading into the 2022 midterm elections is to steer clear of the “Republican vs. Republican” battles.
She said she is keeping the focus on what she called the failures of President Biden and Democrats on Capitol Hill, and the challenges facing “Middle America.”
“I think every Republican right now should be talking about 2022, and that is where I am as Republican Party chair,” she said. “I am not talking about anything else other than what Biden is doing to destroy our country.”
That could prove to be a tough task given the way in which former President Donald Trump, who tapped Mrs. McDaniel for her post, continues to lash out at Republicans who voted to impeach him and who voted for Mr. Biden’s $1.2 trillion infrastructure package.
Mr. Trump is gunning to take out Ms. Cheney in the primary next year and also has repeatedly criticized Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, and party moderates such as Utah GOP Sen. Mitt Romney — Mrs. McDaniel‘s uncle.
Former Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey and other Republicans, meanwhile, are calling on the party to move beyond Mr. Trump, arguing that his brand of politics has proven toxic and voters don’t want to re-fight the battles of 2020 in 2024.
Mrs. McDaniel said the media is too caught up in the intraparty fights, and said voters are more interested in kitchen-table issues — including the rising costs of goods, labor shortages and concerns over education.
She also defended Mr. Trump, saying the GOP would be lost without him.
“If he left the party, the Republicans would lose,” she said.
Mrs. McDaniel, meanwhile, refused to comment on a recent report that Mr. Trump on his final day in office in January threatened to leave the party.
“The president stayed in the party — this is a nonissue,” she said. “I have already said I am not talking about my conversations with the [former] president of the United States.”