Ronna Romney McDaniel, the chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, joined ABC News’ Jonathan Karl and Rick Klein on the 100th episode of the “Powerhouse Politics” podcast to talk North Korea, Donald Trump and the future of the Republican Party.
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According to McDaniel, Republicans will need to rack up some accomplishments based on promises they’ve made regarding the repeal and replacement of Obamacare, tax reform and infrastructure if they want to keep control of Congress. “It is hard to go and make the case ‘Give us the majority again’ when we haven’t accomplished the things that we ran on,” she said.
Contrary to comments made by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday that Trump has set “excessive expectations” for legislative action, McDaniel said that the president’s expectations mirror the sentiments of the American people.
“Saying this is as good as we can do just isn’t acceptable when people’s premiums are going up and deductibles are so high and insurers are pulling out of the marketplace,” she said, adding that she believes more frustration should be leveled at Democrats for creating Obamacare.
McDaniel dismissed suspicions that Vice President Mike Pence is preparing a presidential run for 2020. “He has been a partner with this president every step of the way and is in no way setting up any type of shadow campaign or looking for an opportunity to run against this president,” she said. “He is totally committed to serving President Trump and the American people.”
While the RNC avoids taking positions in primary elections, she did not anticipate any Republicans challenging Trump in the next presidential election unless they make independent runs. “I just can’t imagine thinking that the party would go against an incumbent president,” she said.
Though it is rare for serious challengers to run against an incumbent president of their party, Pat Buchanan took on George H.W. Bush in 1992, and Ronald Reagan challenged Gerald Ford in 1976. But neither Ford nor Bush had approval ratings as low as Trump’s when they were challenged. That said, approval ratings may not be the best predictor when it comes to Trump.
“It’s not much different than the day he got elected,” McDaniel said of his relatively low rating. According to Gallup, 36 percent of Americans currently approve of Trump’s job performance — a number that matches his favorability rating in a Gallup poll the week before he was elected.
Asked about Trump’s recent threat of “fire and fury like the world has never seen” against North Korea if it continues to threaten the United States, McDaniel contrasted the current administration with President Barack Obama’s.
“Clearly [Kim Jong Un] was much farther along than the Obama administration had expected,” she said. “President Trump is saying if you attack the United States, if you attack our allies, there will be consequences.”
McDaniel ended her appearance on the podcast by praising musician Kid Rock, though she doubts he will run for the Senate. “People who aren’t from Michigan don’t understand how much he’s given back to the community of Michigan,” she said. “He’s one of those people who succeeded and stayed in the state and always has given back to the community and championed not just Michigan but Detroit.”