RNC Chair Challenges Trump’s Claims That Gillespie Didn’t ‘Embrace Me’

Ronna Romney McDaniel, the Michigan Republican Party chair, speaks before a Republican presidential primary debate at Fox Theatre, Thursday, March 3, 2016, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Paul Sancya/AP

President Donald Trump was quick to distance himself from the Virginia gubernatorial candidate he endorsed following Republican Ed Gillespie’s defeat Tuesday evening. Trump tweeted from South Korea that the candidate “worked hard, but did not embrace me.”

But Republican National Committee chair Ronna Romney McDaniel pushed back on that claim.

“Ed did work with the President, he did robocalls and he had tweets,” she said, likely referencing a robocall Trump made prior to Election Day encouraging voters that Gillespie “will help make America great again.”

It appears Trump did more to embrace Gillespie, than vice versa. The President tweeted support for Gillespie in late October and again on Tuesday. Gillespie failed to mention the Presidential tweets of support at later campaign events. Gillespie even dodged questions from TPM about Trump at a campaign event.

McDaniel went on to contradict herself, saying the reason Virginia Gov.-elect Ralph Northam (D) won was because he said he would be willing to work with the President if it helped the people of Virginia.

“Our base is for our President. The enthusiasm for the President is still strong. … Voters want to see candidates embrace the President,” she said. “If there’s a playbook for Democrats, they should work with the President. … I absolutely think any candidate should be embracing the President and I think Ed did.” 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nicole Lafond is a news writer for TPM based in New York City. She is also currently earning a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University and previously worked as an education reporter at The News-Gazette in Champaign, Ill. Follow her on Twitter @Nicole_Lafond.
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