Ronna McDaniel, the chair of the Republican National Committee, on Wednesday rejected 2024 GOP presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy’s call for her to resign over the party’s poor performance in several election cycles.
Ramaswamy said he was “upset” about the party’s results in Tuesday’s off-year races. Republicans sustained multiple defeats, including losing control of the House of Delegates in Virginia and failing to unseat Kentucky’s incumbent Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear in a deeply red state.
“We’ve become a party of losers, at the end of the day,” Ramaswamy said during the third Republican primary debate, which was held in Miami.
Ramaswamy then proceeded to point the finger at McDaniel and suggested she step down.
“I mean, since Ronna McDaniel took over as chairwoman of the RNC in 2017 we have lost” four successive elections, he said.
“For that matter, Ronna, if you wanna come onstage tonight, you wanna look the GOP voters in the eye and tell ’em you resign, I will turn over my — yield my time to you,” Ramaswamy continued.
In an interview with CNN’s Dana Bash following the debate, McDaniel said she didn’t want to get drawn into Ramaswamy’s comments, adding that she intends to deliver for Republican voters who want the party to remain focused on fighting the Democrats and President Joe Biden.
“This Republican-on-Republican infighting — I’m not running for president so I’m not in this primary — isn’t helping our party,” she said. “We lost races in 2022 because of vitriol within our party. We need every Republican and then some to win elections.”
Ramaswamy also took issue with the RNC’s choice to select NBC News to host the debate, suggesting alternate moderators like X CEO Elon Musk and former Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson would have helped the event draw more eyeballs.
The Republican debates have seen declining TV ratings as the front-runner of the race, former President Donald Trump, has refused to participate and the rest of the candidates have failed to gain much traction.
McDaniel said Republicans won’t win if they just stay in conservative media “echo chambers” and don’t make efforts to reach out to broader swaths of the electorate.
“If you can’t take a tough question, then you probably shouldn’t be running for president,” McDaniel said.
NBC News partnered with Salem Radio Network and the Republican Jewish Coalition, as well as Rumble, to host the event. NBC’s Lester Holt and Kristen Welker moderated the debate alongside conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt.