RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel sides with Trump on debt ceiling deal

While many congressional Republicans are livid at President Trump's unexpected debt-ceiling deal with Democratic leaders, one key Republican is arguing that this effort at bipartisanship is what Americans want.

"I channel the middle of the country where I come from," Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, who hails from Michigan, told "The Takeout" podcast this week. "They're looking at Washington saying, 'Give us some solutions. I don't care how you do it, let's be pragmatic. If you have to work across party lines, if it's in the best interest of the American people, get it done.'

"And that's what the president's bringing. And so he's going to work with Republicans, he's going to work with Democrats. That's a good thing," McDaniel said. 

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Earlier this week, President Trump forged a surprise agreement with Democratic leaders to pass a first tranche of aid for the Hurricane Harvey relief effort, along with a three-month extension of the debt limit and a short-term government spending bill. It was a move that left Republican leadership dumbfounded. Shortly before Mr. Trump's meeting with congressional leaders, House Speaker Paul Ryan had disparaged the Democrats' short-term proposal, calling it a "ridiculous idea." 

One congressional aide described the meeting this way: "Republican leaders pushed for [an] 18-month debt limit hike, then floated 6 months. [Rep. Nancy] Pelosi and [Sen. Charles] Schumer dismissed 6-month hike.  Trump then agreed to the 3-month hike that Democrats put on the table." 

But McDaniel brushed aside any criticism of Mr. Trump's deal with Democrats, arguing that "if he doesn't work with Democrats, he's too partisan. And if he works with Democrats, he's too bipartisan. I mean, he can't win."

"At the end of the day, the president wants to work with anybody who's working with the American people to get the job done."

For more with McDaniel's conversation with CBS News Chief White House Correspondent Major Garrett and Political Director Steve Chaggaris, including her thoughts about next year's midterm elections, her party's policy agenda, and her famous maiden name (Romney), download "The Takeout" podcast on Apple PodcastsGoogle PlayStitcher, or Spotify. New episodes are available every Friday morning.

Also, you can watch "The Takeout" on CBSN Friday and Saturday nights at 9pm ET/PT. For a full archive of "The Takeout" episodes, visit www.takeoutpodcast.com.

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  • Steve Chaggaris

    Steve Chaggaris is CBS News' senior political editor.