NBC contributor Ronna McDaniel spent late 2022 recruiting poll workers on Steve Bannon’s far-right podcast

The former RNC chair, who aided Trump's fake elector scheme, used the platform of one of the country’s foremost election deniers to recruit people to oversee the 2022 election

Former Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel, recently hired by NBC News, repeatedly appeared on former Trump adviser Steve Bannon’s War Room podcast in the run up to — and aftermath of — the 2022 midterms to recruit partisan poll workers and watchers and cast unfounded doubt on the election.

NBC News’ decision to bring McDaniel on as a paid contributor has generated massive backlash at the network, as even host Chuck Todd — a company man if ever there was one — criticized the move on Meet the Press on Sunday, as did the hosts of Morning Joe

NBC News’ selection appears especially shortsighted given that McDaniel has largely alienated the various factions of the conservative movement, and it’s not at all clear whom she purports to represent. Given that McDaniel was a direct participant in Trump’s attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 election and continued to deny the results for months, she should have zero credibility outside of MAGA media (which now despise her).

McDaniel appeared on War Room — a hub of election denialism, even by right-wing media standards — at least four times prior to the 2022 election and at least twice in the following couple months. She used Bannon’s platform to attempt to recruit volunteers and paid staffers to help oversee the midterms, appealing to her host’s far-right audience of election deniers, and then to defend her party’s relatively poor performance. 

Throughout October 2022, McDaniel boasted to Bannon of having “about 30,000 poll watchers already trained,” and “also 30,000 poll workers, which I think is even, if not as important, but maybe more important.” 

As Media Matters reported at the time, McDaniel failed to mention that two of the 17 “election integrity directors” she had recruited “were either subpoenaed directly or mentioned in other subpoenas issued by the Justice Department for their alleged participation in former President Donald Trump’s fake elector scheme.”

In the days immediately before the election, she claimed to have seen a “jump” in volunteers after her three prior appearances.

McDaniel defended herself on War Room that December, amid a challenge to her RNC leadership post  after Republicans failed to secure a so-called red wave the previous month. She reminded Bannon about “all the things we did this last cycle on election integrity,” using the right-wing euphemism for election denial. 

McDaniel also highlighted that the RNC “censured [then-Rep.] Liz Cheney” for participating in the January 6 committee to investigate Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

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Citation From the December 16, 2022, edition of Real America's Voice's War Room

The next month, McDaniel used a War Room appearance to cast doubt on the 2020 election results. 

“I think there were all types of problems in 2020, and we all saw this,” she said, adding, “We have to fight for voter ID laws.”

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Citation From the January 20, 2023, edition of Real America's Voice's War Room

Trump and his movement have ushered in a new era of attacks on poll workers and other election officials, with an estimated 11 percent expected to leave their posts prior to this year’s general election. 

From her position at the head of the RNC, McDaniel helped to accelerate that trend and put not only individual workers but also entire election systems in danger. She has nothing to offer NBC News’ viewers beyond self-exculpatory justifications for her recent history at best, and a continuation of her radical election denialism at worst.