RNC leadership battle gets ugly as Harmeet Dhillon campaign PULLS DeSantis endorsement from website

Author: Yuvi January 27, 2023

RNC challenger Harmeet Dhillon’s campaign was force into an embarrassing u-turn on Thursday when it added a photograph of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to its endorsements web page, before quickly deleting it.

It came after DeSantis said that the Republican National Committee needed new blood after a series of bad election results.

If it sounded like an endorsement of the candidate running against three-term incumbent Ronna McDaniel, Dhillon herself was quick to make clear that it was not.

She has promised to be a neutral chair, if elected, throughout the 2024 nominating process that could pit DeSantis against former President Donald Trump. 

Harmeet Dhillon’s campaign added Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to the endorsements page of its website, before quickly deleting it. Dhillon has made clear that she does not want endorsements of possible 2024 runners so as to remain neutral, if elected

#BREAKING: Gov. Ron DeSantis praises Harmeet Dhillon (@pnjaban) in bid for RNC chair

“I think we need a change, I think we need to get some new blood in the RNC. I like what Harmeet Dhillon has said about getting the RNC out of DC […] We need some fresh thinking.” pic.twitter.com/Y5W78v4RC6

— Florida’s Voice (@FLVoiceNews) January 26, 2023

‘I don’t call that an endorsement,’ she said about DeSantis. 

‘I call that answering a question and weighing in an endorsement of something on somebody stationery that says I heartily endorse this person.’

In contrast, she has pointed out that close Trump allies have arrived in California for the RNC meeting to whip votes for McDaniel.

Which made the appearance of DeSantis’ picture on her website as an ‘endorsement,’ all the more embarrassing. It was quickly removed, but not before a McDaniel supporter had grabbed a screenshot and passed it on to DailyMail.com.

Instead, the video of his interview with conservative Charlie Kirk was posted on the site … without calling it an endorsement. 

The Florida governor made his feelings clear. He said it was time for a change after three cycles of electoral defeat.

‘I think we need a change, I think we need to get some new blood in the RNC,’ DeSantis said. 

‘I like what Harmeet Dhillon has said about getting the RNC out of DC […] We need some fresh thinking.’

Harmeet Dhillon is running to unseat Ronna McDaniel as chairwoman, saying a change is needed after several cycles of disappointing election results

In Dhillon has promised to move home from San Francisco to Washington, D.C., if elected.

But talking to reporters on the terrace of the Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach, California, she distanced herself from talk of endorsement as part of her promise to lead a neutral RNC when it came to 2024 nominations.   

‘At the end of the day, we need to assure all of the likely candidates and candidates that this will be a fair process,’ she said. 

‘I know everybody wants to say that they pay lip service to it. But President Trump’s team is here whipping votes for Ronna.

‘That’s a fact many of you have reported on. And so I think that speaks for itself.’

It is a reminder of the bitter tone of much of the race. Members of the committee have seen their contact details posted online, drawing a deluge of messages in favor of one candidate or the other.

Now they are preparing to vote on Friday to pick a chair for the next two years. 

Ron DeSantis’s decision to back Harmeet Dhillon for RNC chair sets up an arm’s length battle with Donald Trump, whose aides are quietly backing incumbent Ronna McDaniel

His intervention comes as the 168 members of the RNC are gathered for their winter meeting in California.

McDaniel’s team is convinced they have the votes needed to secure a fourth term.

But Dhillon’s supporters say fresh thinking is needed to make Republicans more competitive in elections.

‘We’ve had three substandard election cycles in a row – ’18, ’20, and ’22,’ DeSantis told Florida’s Voice.

‘And I would say of all three of those, ’22 was probably the worst given the political environment of a very unpopular president in Biden.

‘Huge majorities of the people think the country is going in the wrong direction.

‘That is an environment that’s tailor made to make gains in the House and the Senate and state houses all across the country. And yet that didn’t happen.

‘In fact we lost ground in the Senate.’

Rooms at the Walforf Astoria Monarch Beach, California, start at more than $820 plus a $55-a-night resort charge and taxes

DeSantis has yet to reveal his 2024 plans. But he comes off a landslide victory in his own state last year, and has excited a large wing of the Republican Party with his culture war credentials, and relative youth at the age of 44.

Dhillon said she welcomed the comments of DeSantis which reflected grassroots’ feeling.

’85, 90, 95 percent of Republicans are supporting a change in leadership at the RNC,’ she said.

‘And so I’m sure Governor DeSantis is hearing it and I’m sure frankly, every Republican elected official around the country is hearing that.’

Trump remains the only declared candidate for 2024, and is reported to be quietly backing McDaniel, whom he helped propel to the top of the RNC.

He cannot weigh in publicly for fear of upsetting the committee’s neutrality in the nomination process. 

But the Associated Press reported that former White House adviser Kellyanne Conway and former chief of staff Reince Priebus will be in McDaniel’s unofficial whipping team.

And aides have quietly let it be known that he wants McDaniel to return for a fourth-term. 

The contest has split MAGA world, however. Kari Lake, who lost her bid to become governor of Arizona last year, is campaigning for Dhillon as members gather at a luxury California hotel for the election.

Trump loyalist and conspiracy theorist Mike Lindell has also jumped ship, and is running against McDaniel but has little chance of winning. 

27 January, 2023, 10:02 am

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