Ronna McDaniel
NBC News journalists spoke out after the network announced it hired former Republican National Committee head Ronna McDaniel. Susan Walsh/AP

Some Trumpworld Republicans Are Reveling in the NBC-Ronna McDaniel Dust-Up

“Some people in Trumpworld just don’t seem to mind her going through the barrel,” Sean Spicer said of Ronna McDaniel.

Some Trump-allied conservatives aren’t rushing to defend Ronna McDaniel amid the fervor over her now-canceled role at NBC News. They may even be enjoying it.

“They’re just happy to see Ronna get beat up,” Sean Spicer, a former RNC spokesperson and White House press secretary under former President Donald Trump, told NOTUS.

“I just don’t think they ever thought that Ronna was on the team, if you will,” he added. “And so some people in Trumpworld just don’t seem to mind her going through the barrel.”

Almost the entire slate of MSNBC’s on-air talent decried the move to hire McDaniel, kicked off by Chuck Todd’s lashing of the ex-RNC head and network executives on Sunday’s “Meet the Press.” On Tuesday night, NBCUniversal officially pulled the plug on the new hire, with NBCU News Group Chair Cesar Conde saying in a statement that “after listening to the legitimate concerns of many of you, I have decided that Ronna McDaniel will not be an NBC News contributor.”

Much of the outrage focused on McDaniel’s previous denial of Trump’s defeat during the 2020 election and her ties to efforts to stop the election certification on Jan. 6.

But she’s not exactly beloved among close Trump allies, either — some Republicans are still annoyed over how she handled both the 2016 and 2024 primaries. And the irritation grew for some after NBC announced McDaniel’s paid contributor role, with Georgia GOP’s Brian Pritchard calling it “the programming network” for the Democratic National Committee.

The Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee did not respond to requests for comment. Trump himself hasn’t posted about the backlash, nor has his spokesperson Steven Cheung, top advisers including Chris LaCivita, or the RNC’s new leadership duo, Michael Whatley and Lara Trump.

While McDaniel’s Trump-aligned detractors have little affection for Todd and his colleagues, “they sort of enjoyed watching her get a little roughed up” in an interview Sunday with “Meet the Press” host Kristen Welker, according to Spicer.

“There are people who don’t like Chuck but don’t like Ronna,” Spicer said. “When he went after her, they were like, ‘Well, we’re not going to come to her defense.’”

That’s not necessarily a widespread view in Trump’s orbit, according to a McDaniel ally familiar with her conversations.

Overall, many Republicans viewed the attempted hiring and outrage surrounding it as more bias against conservatives. MSNBC shows regularly welcome Republican contributors who are anti-Trump Republicans but less frequently host guests more closely aligned with the former president.

“They don’t want a Trump-supporting Republican on their networks,” said the McDaniel ally.

Multiple Republicans noted that MSNBC previously hired Biden press secretary Jen Psaki to host a show on Peacock and has frequently hired political operatives as contributors or hosts.

“Chuck Todd was a Dem staffer. Tim Russert was a Dem staffer. [George Stephanopoulos] was a senior Dem WH staffer. Jen Psaki was a senior Dem WH staffer,” Sen. Ted Cruz posted on X. “But, NBC hired a Republican??!!?! 😱 😱 It’s the end of the world.”

“You didn’t see a rant like that from Chuck Todd” when Psaki agreed to her deal, said the McDaniel ally. “One hundred percent hypocrisy here.”

McDaniel did not respond to a request for comment, nor did NBC News, which had competed with ABC and CNN to sign her as a contributor.

The McDaniel ally insisted she had not second-guessed her decision to join NBC, even after the first report that the network was considering moving on.

“I don’t know what they expected to begin with,” said Spicer.

Ben T.N. Mause is a NOTUS reporter and an Allbritton Journalism Institute fellow.