So much for the argument that Donald Trump wanted to humiliate Mitt Romney. Despite not appointing the previous Republican presidential nominee to run the State Department, Trump has selected Romney’s niece, Ronna Romney McDaniel, to run the Republican National Committee. The choice will have to get ratified at the RNC, but traditionally that’s pro forma with choices made by presidents-elect:
Ronna Romney McDaniel is President-elect Donald Trump’s choice to become the Republican National Committee chair next year, the RNC said Wednesday.
Romney McDaniel, who is currently the chairwoman of the Michigan Republican Party and the niece of 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney, will succeed current RNC chair Reince Priebus, who has been tapped to be Trump’s chief of staff.
“I’m excited to have a highly effective leader in Ronna McDaniel as RNC deputy chair, and I look forward to her serving as the party’s chairman in 2017,” Trump said in a statement.
McDaniel only became state chair in 2015, but has risen quickly since returning to Michigan in 2007. After spending a few years as a behind-the-scenes organizer, she stepped further out into prominence as chair of the Women for Mitt group four years ago. Three years later, she got Governor Rick Snyder’s support for Michigan chair, and helped deliver a surprise win for Trump in the 2016 general election. Trump outperformed Romney by 167,000 votes in Michigan, although he also fell 35,000 short of George W. Bush’s 2004 results. Given the relatively short resumé McDaniel has at the state level, one has to conclude that either she’s a shooting star, Trump wants a good relationship with Romney despite going a different direction at State, or both.
McDaniel has also been active in support for Trump on his victory lap. Here’s McDaniel celebrating the end of the Michigan recount earlier this week:
We’ll be seeing a lot of McDaniel in the national media as a consequence of her new position. A review of YouTube shows a remarkable paucity of material for McDaniel in a talking-head environment, but here she is on Election Night with WXYZ-TV on their webcast. She does a good job of tackling a few questions and offering some analysis, but also has a couple of charming moments of self-effacing humor:
McDaniel also deflected a couple of tougher questions, a task at which she’ll have to excel for the next couple of years, at least.
Assuming that McDaniel’s up for the task of RNC chair after only a little over a year as a state chair, she’ll make a good public face for the GOP. She hails from the Midwest/Rust Belt region, as did Reince Priebus, allowing for more credibility in appeals to Middle America. Contrast McDaniel with the emerging options at the DNC: hard-Left former Nation of Islam member Keith Ellison, activist lawyer Tom Perez, and a string of nonentities. Republicans might well have increased their PR advantage, if nothing else.