Anybody Have A Job For A Former Romney?

MSNBC's Rachel Maddow, sneering at the idea of Ronna McDaniel's appearing on NBC.

By the time you read this, there’s a good chance  former Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel’s contract to be a paid on-air contributor to NBC News has already been cancelled, four days after it was announced.

Dylan Byers at Puck New broke the story and reported that McDaniel is seeking “legal representation.” I assume McDaniel’s attorney will make sure her reported salary of $300,000 a year, as newly executed by her CAA agent, will be fully paid as she exits for parts unknown.

It had been signed a mere two weeks after she had stepped down as RNC head.

The outrage on the part of journalists will only grow as news outlets contend with covering the 2024 presidential election “fairly” in the age of Trump, who necessarily bends all norms and rules.



In the past, networks routinely hired former party “insiders” to fill airtime during presidential debates and other election-related coverage.

But now, the only way that Republican political professionals could have maintained inside access was to enable Trump in his 2020 election denial -- and all the layers of proven lies that go with that.

As we know, Trump’s MAGA base is not moving away from the “steal,” and with each of his legal proceedings they’re digging in even deeper to accept his “alternative reality” and authoritarian control.

But before we get into pondering the Orwellian, let’s go back to last Sunday, which was Ronna’s first appearance on NBC, on “Meet the Press” with Kristen Welker.  

Relatively new to the role, moderator Welker’s own first interview had been with Donald Trump, who steamrolled her.

She was tougher on McDaniel, asking her why she never came out directly to say that the election was won fairly.  "Saying there's concerns about the election doesn't mean (Biden) didn't win, and that's the only thing I'm going to say," McDaniel responded.

Welker also asked the former RNC chairperson why she didn’t speak up earlier after saying Sunday that she disagreed with Trump’s assertion that the “hostages” jailed for their roles in the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol should be freed.

“When you're the RNC chair, you — you kind of take one for the whole team, right?” said McDaniel, who had even removed the Romney from her name, reportedly at Trump’s request. “Now I get to be a little bit more myself.”

Chuck Todd, of all people, who had to step down in September from his moderator position at “Meet the Press” to make way for Welker, appeared on a panel on the show after that interview.

 And he did something quite radical -- akin to breaking the fourth wall—by discussing the behind-the-scenes arrangements for the now-waffling McDaniel to be rolled out on as a guest on “Meet the Press.”

“You got put into an impossible situation, booking this interview, and then all of a sudden the rug was pulled out from under you, and you find out she’s being paid to show up?” He added: “It’s unfortunate for this program, but I am glad you did the best that you could.”

NBC let Todd’s commentary run.

While paid network political pundits can often argue on-air, in the past it’s been more like wrestling. However they disagree, they’re friendly when they frequent the same cushy parties, dinners, and waiting together in green rooms. That goes for some journalists, too. It’s all part of the business.

But everything regarding a Trump election is different. What NBC management perhaps didn’t figure into McDaniel’s contract was that as a loyal Trump operative for the last seven years, she had attacked and gaslit the press to a degree never seen before -- all in order to remain in her boss’s good graces.

Once Todd let the cat out of the bag, it set off a true on-air rebellion on MSNBC.

Although NBC had earlier maintained that McDaniel would not appear on MSNBC, its more liberal sister network. Rachel Maddow claimed that the network “muddied that [message] up in the press.” So from “Morning Joe” to “Deadline White House” with Nicolle Wallace (both Joe Scarborough and Wallace are former Republicans) through “The Rachel Maddow Show” and “The Last Word”’ with  Lawrence O’Donnell, the hosts spoke out in horror about the hire. It was history-making.

“I find the decision to put her on the payroll inexplicable and I hope they will reconsider that decision,” Maddow said, speaking to her news overlords.

She compared the hire to putting a mobster to work in a district attorney’s office.

As the cable network’s most popular personality, Maddow ended with a plea:  “It is a sign of strength, not weakness, to acknowledge that you’re wrong.”

Some Republicans, like Ted Cruz, came out on X saying that networks can apparently hire all the Democrats they want, “but NBC hired a Republican??!!” “It’s the end of the world!”

Yesterday, Chuck Todd posted on social media that those who are trying to make it an issue of “left vs. right” were being intentionally dishonest. “This is about whether honest journalists are supposed to lend their credibility to someone who intentionally tried to ruin ours.”

“There is an easy way to avoid the controversy that NBC News has stumbled into, “O’Donnell said on his show. “Don’t hire anyone close to the crimes.”

These days, as McDaniel has found out, even extreme appeasers of Trump get kicked out. For all of her “I was just following orders” party loyalty, the former president was the one who arranged to have the one-time Romney sacked, replaced by two even bigger lackeys—his daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, and Michael Whatley.

Where will McDaniel end up? After a time out, she might consider taking back her good name.

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