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Former RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel dropped as an NBC contributor following outcry

RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel speaks during a press conference at the Republican National Committee headquarters in 2020 in Washington.
Samuel Corum
Getty Images
RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel speaks during a press conference at the Republican National Committee headquarters in 2020 in Washington.

Updated March 26, 2024 at 6:32 PM ET

NBC's newest contributor has been dropped from the network following public backlash — including from the network's own talent — according to an internal email sent to staffers by NBC Chairman Cesar Conde and obtained by NPR.

Ronna McDaniel, the former chair of the Republican National Committee, was hired by the news network just two weeks after stepping down from her role at the RNC.

"No organization, particularly a newsroom, can succeed unless it is cohesive and aligned. Over the last few days, it has become clear that this appointment undermines that goal," Conde said in the email announcing that McDaniel would no longer be a contributor.

"I want to personally apologize to our team members who felt we let them down," Conde added.

"While this was a collective recommendation by some members of our leadership team, I approved it and take full responsibility for it."

The announcement of McDaniel's hiring raised eyebrows internally, and her new co-workers quickly took to broadcast to express their concerns, prompting NBC to reexamine McDaniel's contract, reportedly worth $300,000 a year.

In a conversation with Meet the Press moderator Kristen Welker, NBC's chief political analyst Chuck Todd said their bosses owe Welker an apology after she spoke to McDaniel in a previous segment.

"She is now a paid contributor by NBC News. I have no idea whether any answer she gave to you was because she didn't want to mess up her contract," Todd continued, adding that McDaniel has "credibility issues that she still has to deal with."

"There's a reason why there are a lot of journalists at NBC News uncomfortable with this, because many of our professional dealings with the RNC over the last six years have been met with gaslighting, have been met with character assassination," Todd said during the show on Sunday.

Rachel Maddow also expressed criticism of the network's choice on her Monday night show, telling viewers, "I find the decision to put her on the payroll inexplicable and I hope [NBC] will reconsider that decision."

McDaniel announced in February that she would be stepping down from her post as RNC chair in early March — the first woman to ever hold the title.

"It has been the honor and privilege of my life to serve the Republican National Committee for seven years as Chairwoman to elect Republicans and grow our Party," McDaniel said in a statement announcing her departure.

Following the 2020 election, McDaniel, a Trump ally, said that she believed that the position was stolen from the former president by President Biden — a claim that has been proven false.

"I don't think he won it fair, I don't. I'm not going to say that," she told CNN's Chris Wallace last summer on what she called a "rigged" election.

Following questioning over the weekend from Welker, McDaniel pivoted and said, "[Biden] won. He's the legitimate president. Fair and square, he won. It's certified. It's done."

"I do think it's fair to say there were problems in 2020 and to say that does not mean he's not the legitimate president," she added.

Copyright 2024 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

C Mandler