RNC Chair Blasts Scarborough for ‘Cult-of-Personality’ Dig on Trump Supporters
Ronna McDaniel says GOP backers are 'issue voters' who want to see Congress deliver results
Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel said that President Donald Trump’s supporters are “issue voters” who don’t follow the “cult of personality,” during an interview Tuesday on “The Laura Ingraham Show.”
McDaniel responded to MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” host Joe Scarborough’s repeated assertions that Trump voters suffer from “cult-of-personality syndrome” and loyally support the president no matter what actions he takes. During the past couple of weeks, Trump shocked his Republicans by bucking the party and making a deal with the Democrats on expanding the debt ceiling, as well as meeting with Democratic leaders to discuss amnesty for illegal immigrant children.
When LifeZette Editor-in-Chief Laura Ingraham asked McDaniel if Trump voters will follow Trump wherever he goes, no matter what he does, McDaniel replied, "absolutely not," noting that voters will hold Trump and the GOP majority in Congress accountable to their sweeping campaign promises.
"And when I hear Joe Scarborough say things like 'cult of personality,' it sounds like 'deplorable' to me. It sounds like he's reusing a word from Hillary Clinton," she said, referring to 2016 Democratic president nominee Hillary Clinton's infamous gaffe in saying that half of Trump voters fall into a "basket of deplorables."
"Trump voters are issue voters. That's exactly what we are," McDaniel said. "They are voters who are concerned about where our country's going, our national security, health care, the framework of our Constitution, the expansion of the regulatory agencies — all these things. And we actually bypassed the 'personality' part of it and focused on the issues. And that's what drove Trump voters to the polls and put him in office."
Many Trump supporters were alarmed by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer's (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's (D-Calif.) claim last week that Trump agreed to forgo the border wall in exchange for giving amnesty to illegal aliens who qualified under the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). But McDaniel said she was heartened by the White House's swift response reaffirming its commitment to building the wall and enforcing immigration laws.
"That was the Schumer/Pelosi narrative that came out of the meeting, and the president quickly came out and corrected that," she said. "I think we're going to have to see where it ends up, but I'm glad the president came out as firmly as he did. I'm never going to accept the Pelosi/Schumer narrative on any meeting."
Although Trump remains "incredibly popular with our base," McDaniel warned that both the president and the GOP majorities in the House and the Senate are lagging in fulfilling key campaign promises, such as repealing and replacing Obamacare and passing tax reform.
"There's two things a stake here: one, repealing and replacing Obamacare, which is a disaster — premiums going up. We all know what's happening around this country as people are suffering. And we ran on this," she said. "But the second question is, can Republicans govern when they have the majority?"
"And when we go in to 2018, and when voters go in and they make a decision, 'Do I want to return Republicans to the majority?' They're going to look back at our success on repealing and replacing Obamacare and tax reform and the things we ran on — immigration reform. And they're going to say, 'Did they get it done? Do they deserve to be returned to the majority?'" McDaniel continued. "And that is exactly why we have to get these things done before the 2018 midterms."
"It's important that we put policies in place that make people's lives better. And at the end of the day, isn't that what we should want to do?" she added.
When Ingraham asked what the RNC supporters have listed on their response cards as their current concerns, McDaniel responded that the RNC is seeing "an uptick" of interest and outrage regarding Sen. Bob Menendez's (D-N.J.) trial, saying, "that's really the top that we're seeing right now, which is the lack of coverage that that's getting."
The second issue RNC supporters are concerned about is "the government takeover of health care" and Sen. Bernie Sanders's (I-Vt.) introduction of the single-payer "Medicare for All" bill last week.
On a scale of 1-10, McDaniel said Trump voters would be a "negative 10" in caring about the ongoing probe into Russia's election interference and into the Trump campaign, despite the media hype.
"Actually, they're frustrated by it," she said. "They just feel like it's just ridiculous. Look at the coverage that this gets. I mean, anything having to do with Russia, the president's already convicted, he's guilty. And then you've got Bob Menendez — the senator from New Jersey who used his office for a high-dollar donor to get visas, to do favors — under trial, the first time in 36 years that we've had sitting senator on trial for bribery charges. Zero coverage."
"So voters are smart. They are seeing it. They get it," McDaniel added. "And they think this Russia thing is ridiculous."