Ronna McDaniel on previous RNC positions: ‘You kind of take one for the whole team’

McDaniel addressed her decision not speak out against Trump's calls to free those imprisoned for their role in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

Ronna McDaniel on previous RNC positions: ‘You kind of take one for the whole team’

Former RNC chair and recently appointed NBC political analyst Ronna McDaniel on Sunday explained why she's only now saying that violent Jan. 6 rioters shouldn't be freed — a stance directly opposed to former President Donald Trump's position.

“When you’re the RNC Chair, you kind of take one for the whole team,” McDaniel said during an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” her first appearance on the network since getting the job. “Now I get to be a little bit more myself.”

Trump has been calling for months for the rioters, who he describes as “hostages,” to be freed. The former president's first act, if reelected, would be to free them himself, he said earlier this month.

The explanation didn't satisfy some prominent critics, who blamed McDaniel enabling crime and putting election officials at risk. Former Rep. Liz Cheney blasted McDaniel following the comment, accusing her of enabling "criminality" and "depravity" during her time at the RNC.

"Ronna facilitated Trump’s corrupt fake elector plot & his effort to pressure [Michigan] officials not to certify the legitimate election outcome. She spread his lies & called 1/6 'legitimate political discourse.' That’s not 'taking one for the team.' It’s enabling criminality & depravity," the Wyoming Republican and outspoken Trump critic wrote on X.

"I also 'regret the fact that people are being threatened for doing their job,'" Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson wrote. "For the last 3+ years professional election workers have been threatened because of yours & others’ lies. No amount of memory lapses changes that reality.

McDaniel’s remarks Sunday, in which she called Jan. 6 violence "unacceptable" and said "I do not think people who committed violent acts on Jan. 6 should be freed," come after intense backlash over NBC’s decision to add her to the team from both within and outside the company.

On Saturday, the Wall Street Journal reported that McDaniel would not be appearing on MSNBC as part of her role.

McDaniel departed the RNC earlier this month, after Trump criticized the organization for its decision to hold primary debates, which he refused to participate in. Trump quickly cemented his control of the organization after members formally voted to install his handpicked candidates for top roles.

Now, a joint fundraising agreement between Trump and the RNC will direct donations to his campaign and the Save America PAC, the political action committee that’s helping pay his legal bills, before money makes its way to the committee.

That’s not inappropriate, “as long as the donors know that that's what they’re doing,” McDaniel said of the funding arrangements Sunday.