Grand Opening, Grand Closing

Ronna McDaniel’s tenure as an NBC contributor has ended far more quickly than expected. Depending on which source you choose, it was either 4 days (per Fortune Magazine) or 5 days (per Rolling Stone). It would be easy to make jokes about her short tenure in the job (compared to Anthony Scaramucci or Liz Truss for example), but the truth is that she never should have been offered a role in the first place. She isn’t the first former RNC chair NBC has hired. Michael Steele remains a political analyst today for MSNBC, in addition to hosting his own podcast and other endeavors. But unlike Michael Steele, Ronna McDaniel is an election denier (or was, until a $300,000/year contract from NBC meant acknowledging the truth). Here’s what vice-chair of the House’s January 6 committee Liz Cheney had to say about McDaniel:

Ronna facilitated Trump’s corrupt fake elector plot and his effort to pressure Michigan officials not to certify the legitimate election outcome. She spread his lies and called January 6 ‘legitimate political discourse’. That’s not ‘taking one for the team’. It’s enabling criminality and depravity.

Liz Cheney: controversial NBC hire Ronna McDaniel enabled Trump ‘depravity’, The Guardian, March 25, 2024

Per the NPR article reporting McDaniel being dropped by NBC, she was still calling the 2020 election–an election where the GOP made a net gain of 14 seats in the House of Representatives–a rigged election in a summer 2023 interview with Chris Wallace on CNN. Ronna McDaniel led the RNC in actively undermining the legitimacy of the 2020 election, and in attacking the legitimacy of the press.

The internal email sent by NBC chairman Cesar Conde (and presumably leaked to NPR) contains both a classic non-apology apology and a fake accountability line:

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.

Former RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel dropped as NBC contributor following outcry, NPR, March 26, 2024

If those lines are representative of content and tone of the rest of that email, that’s not even close to enough of an apology for exercising such poor judgment. Conde chose to hire someone who as chair of RNC, led it to censure Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger for participating in the January 6 committee. Regardless of her spin on the matter in the Chris Wallace interview, the RNC under McDaniel’s leadership characterized the actions of rioters on January 6, 2021 as “legitimate political discourse”. Conde chose to hire the woman who said the following about his employees:

Ronna McDaniel in her role as RNC chair insulting people she would later call colleagues for a grand total of two weeks before being dropped by NBC

A leadership culture that couldn’t see the problem with hiring someone like Ronna McDaniel probably has a lot in common with the now-former leaders of Boeing, who presided over a culture which prioritized profit over safety to such an extent that a door plug blew out. Conde and everyone else who agreed to hire that election-denier should be shown the door in the same way.

Note: I updated this after initially publishing it to reflect McDaniel’s actual tenure as an NBC News contributor.