Michigan's Ex-RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel Opposes Trump's Plan to Free Jan. 6 Rioters, Defends Wayne County Call

March 24, 2024, 11:23 AM by  Allan Lengel

Ronna McDaniel on "Meet the Press" Sunday.

Ex-RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel of Northville, says she opposes Donald Trump's plan to free Jan.6 rioters if elected president.

"I want to be very clear, the violence that happened on Jan. 6 is unacceptable," she told host Kristen Welker in an interview aired Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press." It doesn't represent our country, it certainly does not represent my party. We should not be attacking the Capitol." 

"If you attacked our Capitol and you have been convicted, then that should stay. I do not feel that people who committed violent acts on Jan. 6 should be free."

It's the first time McDaniel, 51, has publicly spoken out against Trump on that issue. She stepped down from the RNC chair position earlier this month at Trump's request.  

When asked by Welker why she didn't speak sooner on the issue, she said:

"When you're the RNC chair you kind of take one for the whole team, right? Now I get to be a litlte bit more myself, right? This is what i believe. I don't believe violence should be in our political discourse, Republican or Democrat." 

"I agree with him on a whole host of other things," she said. "But on that point, I don't think we should be freeing people who violently attacked Capitol Police officers and attacked the Capitol." 

McDaniel went on to say of Trump, "I don't think he wanted an attack on the Capitol...I don't hold him responsible for that."

McDaniel also defended a call she made with President Trump Nov. 17, 2020, urging two GOP Wayne County Board of Canvasser not to sign a certification of the 2020 election.

She said there were questions about the election and canvassers William Hartmann and Monica Palmer first blocked a vote to certify the Wayne County electioin results, then eventually voted to certify it if an audit was conducted. 

Welker kept asking if she regretted making the call to which she said no. She said the canvassers were being called names and threatened to change their vote.

"Our call that night was to say, 'Are you OK?'" McDaniel said.  "That's my recollection. It was three and a half years ago. These are people I knew. I live in Wayne County. 'Are you ok? Are you alright? Vote your conscience,' (I was) not pushing them to do anything."

During the phone call, McDaniel told them to go home and not sign the certification and the RNC would get them attorneys. 

Welker pushed back, saying that it sounded like she was pressuring them not to certify the vote.

McDaniel responded: "Once the public hearing was opened they were called such vicious names, such vile names, family membes were being threatened, that they changed their vote and they left shaken."

"I did call them, and say nobody, I think we should agree on this as Republicans and Democrats, nobody should be threatened or bullied or pushed to change a vote. And that's what happened to them."

"I regret the fact that people are being threatened for doing their job."

The vote was eventually certified.

Welker said at the onset of the show that the interview was scheduled weeks before Friday when NBC announced that it was hiring McDaniel as an on-air commentator. Welker did not appear to go easy on her during the interview.

The Wall Street Journal reported that NBC assured people at MSNBC, which is part of the news network, that McDaniel would not appear on the liberal-leaning cable news platform. Staff at MSNBC internally exxpressed concerns about McDaniel's ties to Trump and her possibly appearing on the network. 


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