Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel connected with President Donald Trump by phone on Tuesday evening with some alarming news: Mitt Romney, her uncle, was about to publish an op-ed savaging him.
McDaniel, who’d gotten a heads-up about the missive directly from Romney, was frustrated and knew she wanted to push back forcefully. That evening, she wrote a tweet defending the president. Then the next morning, as Romney’s op-ed took hold of the news cycle, McDaniel, Trump’s handpicked party chairwoman, sent out an even more strongly-worded tweet scolding her uncle.
Romney’s op-ed, which argued that Trump’s “has not risen to the mantle of the office,” blew up a delicate détente between the two men. And it immediately fueled suspicions among the president’s top aides that the incoming senator is up to something — maybe even keeping the door open to a 2020 primary challenge.