Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel refrained from blaming former President Donald Trump for the GOP’s midterm drubbing on Monday, insisting she’s “not into the blame game right now.”
Underscoring how many Trump-backed candidates, such as Sens.-elect J.D. Vance (R-OH) and Ted Budd (R-NC), won their respective races, McDaniel stressed that the party has still not fully grappled with the ramifications of the overturn of Roe v. Wade and that it’s too early to assign blame.
“I don’t like this. I don’t like these parceling out because he supported Ted Budd, who won, and he supported J.D. Vance, who won. I think there’s a lot of things — that’s why I put together an after-action report,” McDaniel told Fox Business’s Stuart Varney when pressed if Trump played any role in some of the GOP’s midterm losses. “We should be talking about the amount of ticket-splitting.”
Pondering why many voters opted for one Republican and not another, McDaniel contended the party needs to work to counter that in the future. An analysis from a Republican firm found that split-ticket voting helped spell doom for Republicans in the midterm elections, in which they dramatically underperformed expectations. McDaniel has also blamed the rampant split-ticket voting for the party’s midterm ails.
This was apparent in Georgia, where Republican Gov. Brian Kemp won handily while Senate Republican contender Herschel Walker suffered a narrow loss.
At one point, Varney interjected and asked if Trump was the impetus for voters splitting their votes, but McDaniel refused to go there.
“I’m saying I’m not into the blame game right now. I think we’ve got to do an analysis. I think it’s too quick,” she shot back. “This infighting within our party is never going to help out.”
A chorus of Republicans such as former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former Vice President Mike Pence, and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, among others, have thrown shade at Trump for the lackluster midterm performance, implying his brashness has been off-putting to independent voters. Some, such as Christie, have also accused Trump of elevating weaker candidates in the primary cycle.
Trump debuted his 2022 campaign last month and has shrugged off such criticisms.
McDaniel is embroiled in a battle for another term atop the RNC amid simmering frustrations over the party’s midterm performance and coziness with Trump. Outgoing Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) bowed out of the race, but McDaniel is still facing a challenge from California lawyer Harmeet Dhillon and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell.