Transcript: Ronna McDaniel on "Face the Nation," February 28, 2021

McDaniel: GOP voters "overwhelmingly" agree with Trump
McDaniel: GOP voters "overwhelmingly" agree w... 07:21

The following is a transcript of an interview with RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel that aired February 28, 2021, on "Face the Nation."


MARGARET BRENNAN: We're back with the head of the Republican Party, RNC chair Ronna McDaniel. She's in Northville, Michigan. Good morning to you.

REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE CHAIRWOMAN RONNA MCDANIEL: Good morning, MARGARET. Great to be with you.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Good to have you here. We know there's a lot of eyes on what's going to happen when President Trump takes that main stage later today. Republicans are in the minority in the House. They're in the minority in the Senate. You lost the White House. Why are you doubling down on Donald Trump as the future of the party?

MCDANIEL: Well, it's up to the voters, and the voters are saying overwhelmingly they agree with what President Trump did in office. As you see Joe Biden strip away energy independence and cancel the Keystone pipeline, as you see Joe Biden say, I'm going to prioritize opening our borders over opening our schools, opening our economies, when you see the vaccine rollout that started under Operation Warp Speed in less than a year. These are the types of things that voters are saying they saw happen in the Trump administration and now they're seeing the Biden administration strip those things away.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So it sounds like you think the unity is in the opposition rather than within the party. I mean, if I look at what's happening inside your party, state parties in Arizona and Wyoming and Illinois, they're censuring other Republicans for insufficient loyalty to President Trump. I mean, it looks like your party is getting cut into thinner and thinner strips here.

MCDANIEL: You know, we can have division within our party, and you can have state parties say, I disagree with that vote and I disagree with what you did there. But overwhelmingly our party agrees with each other on more than we disagree with each other on. And we want to see our schools open. You know, you hear Democrats use this mantra over and over again, follow the science. Well, mental health rates are skyrocketing- skyrocketing with young kids that are concerned. You're seeing suicide rates up. Schools need to be open. And Republican governors that are leading across the country are following the science, keeping the kids safe and healthy, but getting them back into school. These are the things that our party stands for, opening up our economy, opening up our schools.

MARGARET BRENNAN: We have a- a Democratic governor ahead who's going to talk about how he's opening schools this week. And we'll dig into that more in depth later on in the program. But we do need to take a short break here and continue our conversation with Ronna McDaniel in just a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MARGARET BRENNAN: Welcome back to FACE THE NATION. We want to pick up where we left off with RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel. Chairwoman, you met with the former president this week in Florida. Do you think he's going to run again in 2024?

MCDANIEL: You know, I don't know. That's going to be a decision he's going to have to make down the road. I do know he's committed to helping us win back majorities in 2022, which is, of course, what I'm focused on right now. We are a handful of seats away from taking back the House, we picked up 15 this last election, and one seat away from taking back the Senate. And as I said, as we're seeing the Trump administration and their legacy being stripped away by Joe Biden, who said he was going to run in a- in a bipartisan way, work with Republicans, he hasn't done that on anything, including this recent boondoggle of a stimulus bill of 2 mill- 2 trillion dollars of grab bags for Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer. You're seeing more and more Republicans recognize we need to unite around how do we win back these majorities and stop Biden in his tracks. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: How damaging were the events of January 6th to your party?

MCDANIEL: They were damaging to our country. I think it was horrific what happened January 6th. There is no American, Republican or Democrat who looks at that and sees our Capitol attacked and feels good. And I think there's a lot of self-reflection that has to go on across the whole country. We are--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Has the president done some self-reflection?

MCDANIEL: I'm going to talk about me because I'm not going to speak for somebody else. But I will say as a party we have been-- 

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, you said he didn't make the moment previously.

MCDANIEL: Well, what I will say from an RNC perspective is we've been more vocal in denouncing groups like QAnon. We know that anarchists came to Washington that day. There was a bomb placed outside of my building, outside of the Republican National Committee. We have a deeply divided nation. I will do that. I will denounce extreme elements that pretend to be Republican and say we do not want you in our party. I would like Democrats to do the same with antifa and groups that are anti-Semitic that masquerade as Democrats and say you are not welcome in our party as they burned down cities this past summer. I would ask the media to be more fair and how you report things. Don't report- suppress reports on Hunter Biden and on Democrats like what's happening with Andrew Cuomo and the immense failures that he had as governor, and then highlight things like you just did with Governor Noem. Andrew Cuomo, what he has done, his policies killed people--

MARGARET BRENNAN: When he agrees to come on this program, trust me, I- he won't like some of my questions,--

MCDANIEL: He deserves that.

MARGARET BRENNAN: --like many of our guests don't like my questions. I want to ask you--  

MCDANIEL: I hope so, but the media as a whole has ignored Andrew Cuomo.  

MARGARET BRENNAN: --I want to ask you about, Congresswoman, to your point you were just raising, though, about being more vocal in speaking out. Congresswoman Liz Cheney said this week that the Trump- the Trump supporters who violently sieged the Capitol on January 6th, she raised this particular issue.

(ROLL CLIP)

REP. LIZ CHENEY: It's very important, especially for us as Republicans, to make clear that we- we aren't the party of- of white supremacy.

(END CLIP)

MARGARET BRENNAN: Will you make that clear now?

MCDANIEL: A hundred percent. We passed a resolution unanimously from the RNC members three years ago saying we condemn white supremacy, anti-Semitism, KKK, and I'm going to add QAnon to that. They are not welcome in our party. I have not seen Democrats do that with Louis Farrakhan, who calls the Jewish people termites. I have not seen them do that with antifa, who last night committed violence again in Portland.

MARGARET BRENNAN: The people who sieged the Capitol were carrying Trump flags. That is why Liz Cheney was talking about it. It is why she voted to impeach the president. 

MCDANIEL: But it's- but you know what, the Democrats have created a safe haven for antifa. They have not denounced them. Nancy Pelosi said as cities were being ripped apart, people will do what they do. You can't hold Republicans to one standard- standard and not Democrats, and that creates unrest as well.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, when it comes to Republicans, I know you have focused on recruiting women back to the party. Is Marjorie Taylor Green, who was a QAnon supporter, who was described by Mitch McConnell as a "cancer on the Republican Party," is she representative of the kind of Republican woman you want?

MCDANIEL: Well, you know, I was- I've been very vocal about her comments. She apologized for them. I'm glad to see that she did and her district will decide that. But we have increased women. We're now at 38 women in Congress in the Republican Party. That's the highest we've ever had. And here's the other thing. Women are suffering under the Biden administration. 2.4 million women have lost their jobs because of daycare issues. One hundred and forty thousand last month. Women are going through a she-cession. Women are struggling because our kids are not back at school. I'm not saying this as a Republican. I'm saying this is a mother with two kids in public school watching this rip apart my community as kids are suffering. So get it done. Get our kids back in school. And that's what the Republican stands- Republican Party stands for. It's Florida versus New York.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Alright.

MCDANIEL: Our kids can go back to school safely. Our businesses can be open. And that's how we'll get women back in our party when they see us fighting for their kids and for them and not standing up for unions.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Ronna McDaniel, thank you for your time today.