Tag: republican national committee
'Leaner' Republican Party Aims To Partner With Outside Extremist Groups

'Leaner' Republican Party Aims To Partner With Outside Extremist Groups

The Washington Post reported the Republican National Committee describes its 2024 approach as “leaner” and “more efficient” than in previous cycles, and that it intends to operate with a smaller staff and more robust partnerships with outside groups.

One of these outside groups is Turning Point USA, the conservative “youth” organization founded by Charlie Kirk in 2012 that has since grown into a social media juggernaut, with a massive digital footprint, and a major player on the conservative conference circuit. The group has long-standing ties with extremists, and Kirk himself frequently pushes racism on his radio show and weekly podcast.

The Washington Post reports that a weekend fundraiser for the Republican National Committee included meetings between James Blair, political director for both the RNC and the Trump campaign, and representatives from Turning Point and other outside groups. From the report:

Blair praised Turning Point in particular as a group that is doing “great work.”

Turning Point’s founder, Charlie Kirk, has been similarly effusive, recently announcing on social media: “As someone who has been a skeptic of the RNC in the past, I am very encouraged by what is happening.”

Instead of them being sort of outside allies now, they’re more like partners for us. And we are going to be the battlefield commander,” Blair said. “The new regime is top down. The new regime is, ‘You get in our rowboat and you row. You dance to the beat of our music, or we’ll just simply say who’s not playing ball.’”

Turning Point and its leader Charlie Kirk have spread racism

Of particular concern is Turning Point and Charlie Kirk’s racism and ties to far-right antisemitic, white supremacist movements.

On a April 30 stream on Rumble, Holocaust denier and far-right cult figure Nick Fuentes claimed that Turning Point is being taken over by young extremists associated with his “groyper” movement.

Fuentes said, “Turning Point, we had a big rivalry with them and they hated us, they fired everyone that was associated with me, and then this past year, their CFO Tyler Bowyer said, well, you know, some groypers are OK."

Turning Point Action Chief Operating Officer Tyler Bowyer said that some of Fuentes’ groypers are “OK-ish” and “just want to have an honest debate” while appearing on TPUSA founder Charlie Kirk’s podcast last month to talk about former Daily Wire host Candace Owens. Owens recently left the right-wing outlet following a string of comments against Jewish people. Figures associated with the “groypers” have previously spoken at Turning Point USA events on college campuses.

In November 2022, Fuentes dined with Donald Trump and pro-Hitler rapper Ye (formerly Kanye West) at Trump’s Florida resort Mar-a-Lago. Fuentes has repeatedly praised Adolf Hitler and compared himself to Hitler. He has also denied the Holocaust and called for a “holy war” against Jewish people.

Kirk himself has drawn hostility within the conservative movement for his own racist comments. In the last few months, he has remarked on his podcast that if he sees a Black pilot he’s going to doubt his qualifications and launched a campaign to discredit the work of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

These comments resulted in significant backlash from conservative commentators and Trump allies. Longtime Trump surrogate pastor Darrell Scott described Kirk’s comments as “bullcrap,” saying, “That boy’s a racist right there.”

In the same NBC article that reported Scott’s comments, an anonymous Trump ally said the former president is “f---ing pissed that Charlie is out causing problems for him in the Black community.”

Kirk’s record of racism and antisemitism is extensive. He has suggested that Black women including Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson and MSNBC host Joy Reid “do not have the brain processing power to otherwise be taken really seriously” and used affirmative action to “steal a white person’s slot,” said that “Haiti is legitimately infested with demonic voodoo,” and attacked the Democratic Party coalition as “resentful, government-addicted minorities and people that want government benefits."

He has also pushed antisemitic stereotypes in the wake of Israel’s invasion of Gaza, blaming “Jewish dollars” for funding “cultural Marxist ideas” and saying Jews control “not just the colleges; it’s the nonprofits, it’s the movies, it’s Hollywood, it’s all of it,” among other comments.

Kirk has made negative comments about Trump’s ground game

Kirk has not expressed confidence in the Republicans’ ground game ahead of the 2024 election, going so far as to attack their efforts.

On The Charlie Kirk Show, he said that the Biden campaign has a “superior ground game."

“The bad news,” he added, “is I do not know if we have the infrastructure, if we have the troops, the plumbing to translate the public sentiment into election success."

In another clip posted to X (formerly Twitter) by the Biden campaign, Kirk said, “We are struggling right now to open up the necessary field offices to compete against Joe Biden."

He praised Trump campaign operatives Chris LaCivita, who has been at the forefront of the RNC’s pivot, and campaign senior adviser Susie Wiles, then listed off Biden’s extensive ground operations in battleground states.

He continued, “Thankfully, we at Turning Point Action, we have well over a hundred people now chasing ballots in Arizona, trying to close that gap.”

As The Associated Press reported in October 2023, Turning Point Action, the organization’s political arm, has been fundraising for a $108 million campaign effort to turn out votes for Trump in the battleground states of Arizona, Wisconsin, and Georgia.

This push comes amid scrutiny. Kirk himself has become a millionaire as a result of his political prominence. Additionally, the group is relying on a mobile app, which will serve as a platform for its get out the vote campaign, developed by the company Superfeed Technologies. Superfeed’s board is chaired by Tyler Bowyer, Turning Point’s chief operating officer, who has suffered financial setbacks in recent years. Bowyer was recently indicted by a grand jury in Arizona for being part of former President Donald Trump’s fake electors scheme to overturn the 2020 election.

Veteran Republican campaign operatives have warned that such a large investment goes far beyond the scope of what is needed for field operations in just three states. Jon Seaton, a former aide to the late Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), told the Associated Press that “there’s not even enough doors” to knock on in the territory.

Concerns about Turning Point’s connections to extremism, Kirk’s history of racism and antisemitism, and dubious fundraising scheme should ring alarm bells among any political operatives seeking to build a campaign for Trump. Instead, they’re leaning in.

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters.

Lara Trump

Trump's Handpicked Co-Chair: 'In America, We Get Ahead By Merit Alone'

The annual Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC, got under way on Thursday. One of the big names on the stage was none other than Donald Trump’s sycophant daughter-in-law Lara Trump, who is also the oft-indicted former president’s hand-picked candidate for co-chair of the Republican National Committee. She gave a pretty standard let’s-go-Donald-Trump speech, filled with some grade-school jingoism and an astonishing lack of self-awareness.

After throwing some red meat to the GOP base by bringing up the fabricated epidemic of trans student athletes, Lara made this extraordinary claim about her daughter: “I want her to understand that in the United States of America, we get ahead and succeed by merit and merit alone.”

That’s a truly rich statement coming from the former Lara Yunaska who, to repeat, was just endorsed as co-chair of the RNC by her powerful father-in-law, even though her main qualification seems to be her last name—unless her experience as a TV producer, Trump campaign surrogate, and Fox News talking head is supposed to count.

Lara’s seeming delusion about what constitutes a meritocracy is shared by others in her family. Who could forget when Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka bragged about her childhood business acumen—which amounted to her extorting the maids and butlers working for her father?

The Trump family epitomizes how being a failure at virtually everything you do means nothing when you are born (or married) rich.

Democratic voters know Joe Biden is old and MAGA voters like to pretend that Trump isn't just as long in the tooth. Both men were old the last time we did this and the only thing that’s changed is Biden is now a successful incumbent, while Trump is busy juggling trials and indictments.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

Kellyanne Touted RNC's 'Great Job' -- Without Disclosing Huge Sum It Paid Her

Kellyanne Touted RNC's 'Great Job' -- Without Disclosing Huge Sum It Paid Her

Fox News contributor Kellyanne Conway repeatedly went out of her way to praise the efforts of the Republican National Committee around the midterm elections, saying the organization did a “great job” and touting its voter contact program. Neither Fox nor Conway disclosed that the RNC has paid Conway’s firm more than $800,000 since last year.

The lack of disclosure about Conway’s financial ties goes against the ethics-challenged network’s purported policy. A Fox News spokesperson told the Washington Post in 2019 regarding work Fox News contributor Ari Fleischer did with the RNC that “Fox News requires contributors to disclose ties related to any topic he or she discusses on the air in which the contributor may have a financial interest.” The spokesperson added that such a rule would apply when talking about “the RNC on air.”

Conway is a Republican strategist who is best-known for her lie-filled tenure as senior counselor to former President Donald Trump. Fox News hired her on October 3. She is the founder of KAConsulting LLC, “which provides clients advice, polling, and media training.”

The RNC has paid KAConsulting $829,969.38 since 2021 for a variety of expenses. The RNC’s most recent payment was on November 4 for “political strategy services.” The organization recently announced that Conway would serve on a Republican Party Advisory Council “to inform the Republican Party’s 2024 vision and beyond.”

The RNC has faced criticism from fellow Republicans after the GOP’s disappointing performance in the 2022 midterm elections. Blame has also been directed at RNC chair Ronna McDaniel, who presided over the party’s losses in 2020 as well.

Conway has used her Fox News platform to praise the RNC and play defense for McDaniel.

Conway appeared on the November 6 edition of Fox News Sunday, where she went out of her way to praise the RNC’s work. She stated: “I think that the Democrats have enraged people. That's their strategy. Republicans have engaged people. They've had 100 million voter contacts, 1 million volunteers and they've opened 38 community centers through the RNC where you can go into your community and find out what the difference between a Republican and Democrats is. I'd rather engage than enrage people. I think enraging is a failed strategy.”

The next day, she appeared on Sean Hannity’s program, where she again went out of her way to praise the RNC:

KELLYANNE CONWAY: It depends obviously on turnout. But it also depends on motivation and what I call investing in the non-sexy part of politics. OK? Everybody sees the ads, they see the rallies, the campaign, the candidate direct appeals, the TV interviews. What they don't see is who’s investing in data and digital. How many volunteers you have, how many voter contacts have you made. I don't really know what the DNC is doing, but the RNC has done a great job on this, as have all the committees. They've raised over $300 million and spent it. They have over 100 million voter contacts. Think about that. You're calling voters and you're the party talking about inflation, crime, education, immigration, border security, national security, financial security, physical security in your communities. They have over one million volunteers. And you see that all of these candidates have been very well resourced.

Following the midterms, Conway appeared on the November 14 edition of The Ingraham Angle and defended the RNC’s efforts from criticism, saying that Lee Zeldin should instead run for Senate instead of challenging McDaniel. (Zeldin recently announced he would not run for RNC chair.)

LAURA INGRAHAM (HOST): And by the way they want him to be RNC chief, there's a big push to get Zeldin to be head of the RNC.

CHARLES HURT (FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR): There has to be a future for people like Lee Zeldin, because he has demonstrated that he gets the message and he gets the mechanics. He does both.

INGRAHAM: Kellyanne you were shaking your head "no."

KELLYANNE CONWAY: I think the 168 [RNC membership] is in charge of electing them. Ronna McDaniel said she'll run again, they invested — I mean, they moved over $303 million to these candidates at the end, had 100 million voter contacts, 1 million volunteers, but I think Lee Zeldin.

INGRAHAM: But I mean none of that matters, does it, if we don't get the results we want.

CONWAY: I think it mattered.

INGRAHAM: I mean, I like Ronna McDaniel.

CONWAY: But hold on. Lee Zeldin is great. He should go take out Kirsten Gillibrand, who's one of the most unremarkable senators and one of the most unremarkable Dartmouth graduates of all time. But very quickly, I think that we didn't get some of the results we wanted because people believe the sugar high of these phony polls, and they were Republican leaning. Everybody went and cherry picked the polls they liked.

In none of those appearances did Conway or Fox News disclose that she has been paid by the RNC.

Correction (12/14):This piece originally stated that Conway encouraged Lee Zeldin to run for New York governor. In fact, she suggested he should run for Senate.

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters.

Zeldin Steps Away, But McDaniel Faces Two Challengers For RNC Chair

Zeldin Steps Away, But McDaniel Faces Two Challengers For RNC Chair

Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY), an election denier who voted against certifying the 2020 election results, announced Wednesday that he’d hold off, for now, on challenging Ronna Romney McDaniel for the Republican National Committee’s top spot.

Zeldin — fresh off a defeat in the grueling New York gubernatorial election, a race he refused to concede hours after it was called — was considered a strong contender for the position, which he had been “seriously” mulling for about a month.

In a statement on Twitter announcing his decision to withdraw from the race, Zeldin slammed incumbent McDaniel’s re-election bid and demanded that she step aside for some “fresh blood.”

"RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel should not run for a 4th term. I won’t be running for RNC Chair at this time with McDaniel’s reelection pre-baked by design, but that doesn’t mean she should even be running again. It’s time the GOP elects new leadership! It’s time for fresh blood!" Zeldin wrote.

The Long Island Republican said McDaniel had acted in seeking to retain the RNC Chair “as if the disappointing results of every election during her tenure, including yesterday in Georgia, do not and should not even matter."

Indeed, McDaniel, also a close Trump ally, had just overseen a disappointing midterm election for the GOP, which had, in the months before, fervently anticipated sweeping up both chambers of Congress in a “red tsunami" but ended up with the smallest of majorities in the House and losses down ballot as well.

The Republican party’s historically underwhelming midterm performance culminated in a run-off defeat of the Trump-endorsed Republican candidate for Senate in Georgia, Herschel Walker.

Like many Republicans subservient to Trump, McDaniel revels on the fringe side of political discourse. She peddled false allegations of wrongdoing in the 2020 elections; refused to acknowledge Joe Biden as president more than a year into his tenure; mocked Democrat John Fetterman’s post-stroke speech issues; and kept mum about Trump’s recent attack on the Constitution.

Besides Trump’s endorsement, McDaniel earned the support of many RNC voting members for her far-right stance, which stood in stark contrast with views disseminated by her centrist conservative uncle, Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT).

In a signed letter Friday, a large bloc of RNC voting members endorsed McDaniel’s bid for a fourth bout as party chair, writing: “We, the undersigned members of the Republican National Committee, are proud to offer our endorsement for your re-election as Chairman of the Republican National Committee.”

Despite the rousing endorsement, several Republicans are considering challenging McDaniel, including South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem and former White House aide Mercedes Schlapp.

McDaniel has two declared challengers thus far, including My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell, a conspiracy theorist of interest to the House Select Committee and the U.S. government for his participation in the Trump-led effort to undermine the 2020 elections.

The pillow-peddler denounced McDaniel for “fail[ing] in her leadership” and said, “we need someone who knows how to run a business to lead one of the most important organizations in our country.”

Various right-wing commentators and agitators, many aligned with Trump, also have taken umbrage at McDaniel’s re-election biid.