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NBC News drops former RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel as contributor after backlash

NBC News has dropped former Republican National Committee chair Ronna McDaniel from her role as a paid contributor, mere days after her hiring was announced, following on-air objections from NBC and MSNBC journalists. 

NBC News reported the decision was announced Tuesday in an email to staff by Cesar Conde, NBCUniversal Group chairman. "There is no doubt that the last several days have been difficult for the News Group. After listening to the legitimate concerns of many of you, I have decided that Ronna McDaniel will not be an NBC News contributor," Conde said, according to NBC News.

"I want to personally apologize to our team members who felt we let them down. While this was a collective recommendation by some members of our leadership team, I approved it and take full responsibility for it," Conde wrote. 

The network announced McDaniel's hiring on Friday, two weeks after she stepped down as head of the RNC. Network hosts and personalities, including Joe Scarborough, former White House press secretary Jen Psaki, Nicolle Wallace and Rachel Maddow, used their time on air to protest management's decision to hire McDaniel, and urged the network to reconsider. 

Puck News was the first to report that NBC News planned to drop McDaniel as a contributor. 

Wallace said on the air that NBC's decision to hire McDaniel signaled to 2020 election deniers "not just that they can do that on our airwaves, but that they can do that as one of us, a badge-carrying employee of NBC News, as a paid contributor to our sacred airwaves," a sentiment echoed by other NBC talent. 

"The fact that Ms. McDaniel is on the payroll at NBC News, to me, that is inexplicable," Maddow said on her show Monday. "And I hope they will reverse their decision."

Maddow said MSNBC staff "expressed outrage" after McDaniel's hiring was announced and that the network's executives heard, understood and "adjusted course." 

McDaniel defended former President Donald Trump's efforts to challenge the results of the 2020 election, and defended a November 2020 call in which she and Trump reportedly urged GOP canvassers in Michigan to not sign the state's certification of the presidential election. 

McDaniel took on the role of RNC leader in 2017, the year Trump took office. 

She stepped down to make way for Trump's hand-picked team to take over the RNC, as he cemented his status as the presumptive Republican nominee for president. Michael Whatley, who promoted Trump's false voter fraud theories, was voted in as national chairman, and Trump's daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, was voted co-chair. McDaniel herself was once hand-picked by Trump, but her favor among Trump allies waned as she was blamed for GOP losses in recent elections.  

Layoffs at the RNC followed the election of its new leadership. More than 60 staffers were axed as the organization tries to streamline and "eliminate redundancies" between the campaign and the RNC, a senior Trump campaign official told CBS News earlier this month. 

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