Transcript: Ronna McDaniel on “Face the Nation”


The following is a transcript of an interview with RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel that aired Sunday, October 11, 2020, on “Face the Nation.”

MARGARET BRENNAN: We want to go now to the chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, Ronna McDaniel. She is recovering from a COVID-19 diagnosis 11 days ago and joins us from her home in Northville, Michigan. Good morning. How are you feeling?


MARGARET BRENNAN: I’m glad to hear that. Do you know if you can still transmit the virus? Are you going to be out there soon on the- on the campaign trail?

MCDANIEL: Yeah, I’m being told and I’m working with my doctor, so I’m going to follow the science that 10 days after diagnosis, you’re not shedding the virus any longer. But I’m just going to make extra sure before I get out there. But I’m feeling very well, and I’ve been fever free- free for over 10 days, so that’s a good sign.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, good luck to you with that. On the president’s front, as we know, he is recovering. You just heard our latest read from CBS’s Anthony Salvato. Do you think these days off the campaign trail and now a canceled debate for this week have put the president behind?

MCDANIEL: You know, we’ve been looking at our numbers internally as well. We are not seeing that. We’ve seen the president actually increase in his numbers. I think voters are very frustrated by the corrupt debate commission that they would cancel a second debate. I think it feeds into the belief that this 47 years that Joe Biden has had is- has had in DC is again protecting him from facing the voters. And Americans are frustrated that this election commission interfered with our ability to see these two candidates debate.

MARGARET BRENNAN: There are Republicans on that commission, and that decision was made in part due to health concerns because of lack of disclosure, as you know.

MCDANIEL: Well, they’re not non-partisan Republicans. Those Republicans have been very critical of this president. They did not follow the science. It was done unilaterally without talking to the candidates, and they interfered in the election. It is corrupt. It is what D.C. is. They are in the pocket of Joe Biden, and they prevented the American public from seeing these candidates debate. And it’s wrong for the country.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So it sounds like you do think that could be a negative for the president.  When you heard those stats on- on the economy in particular, that stood out to me because you always say this is the most resonant message for the president. But in Michigan, the state you know well, he’s even with Biden on perception of who would be better on the economy. Why isn’t that working?

MCDANIEL: I think the debate situation is a negative for Biden. I think it plays into this D.C. politician who’s been there for 47 years, who isn’t getting tough questions from the media. He’s refusing to answer about whether he’s going to pack the Supreme Court, upending 150 years of- of our judicial standards. And he’s saying, I’ll tell you after the election. This is egregious that this candidate is getting away with this– 

MARGARET BRENNAN: What about the economy? 

MCDANIEL: –and this is what happens when you’re wired in D.C.. The president, of course, is doing better on the economy. The PPP loans is what saved this economy. They did more loans in 14 months- or 14 days that had been done in 14 months. He saved businesses. This president had our economy in the best shape before this pandemic. He’s already leading us out of it. The American people recognize that. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, it sounds like Republicans aren’t going to pass the- the bill that the president now says he wants to do.

MCDANIEL: No, Nancy Pelosi wants to do a- a power grab and fund cities that were already in financial distress in the name of the pandemic. And I think the American people don’t want to see that done.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, Senate Republicans, are objecting to the size of it, too. But I want to ask you about, are you going to start resuming in-person fundraisers? And when you do that, are you going to have masks be worn? Are you going to mandate social distancing?

MCDANIEL: Yeah, you know, we’re going to do everything we need to do. But let’s go back to the issue, MARGARET. You have a candidate for president right now–


MCDANIEL: But there’s a candidate for president now–

MARGARET BRENNAN:  I want to ask if the president is going to do any in-person fundraisers

MCDANIEL: –doing an absolute personal power grab. No, Joe Biden is running on the biggest power grab in history, and you guys want to talk about fundraising protocols? He is saying he’s going to stack–

MARGARET BRENNAN: I want to ask what the president’s doing in the next few days, because you are 23 days from an election.

MCDANIEL: He’s going to say he’s going to stack the Supreme Court, get rid of the filibuster and he’s being given a free pass. This should be all the media is focused on. I understand you don’t like Donald Trump.  I understand we don’t like Republicans.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Actually, he- you said the president–

MCDANIEL: We have a Democrat running on the biggest power grab, the absolute biggest power grab in the history of our country and reshaping the United States of America– 


MCDANIEL: –and not answering the question. That’s all we should be talking about. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: OK, so I think you answered the question of yes assuming- resuming in-person fundraisers for the president. But I want to ask you–

MCDANIEL: No, we- who cares?

MARGARET BRENNAN: –about voting.

MCDANIEL Who cares if we have fundraisers when you have a candidate running to upend–

MARGARET BRENNAN: Because it’s the president. I want to know what he’s doing. Let’s–

MCDANIEL: But he’s going to upend checks and balances in the third branch of government. Why are we not–

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, he’s going to hold rallies the next few days.

MCDANIEL: –talking about this non-stop? No, this is Joe Biden who’s going to upend checks and balances, get rid of the checks and balances that are fundamental to our Constitution and won’t answer if he’s going to stack the Supreme Court. 

MARGARET BRENNAN:  Well let’s- let’s talk about 

MCDANIEL This is all the media should be focusing on.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Let’s talk about courts. The RNC right now is involved in about 40 different pieces of litigation–

MCDANIEL: Correct.

MARGARET BRENNAN: –regarding voting integrity. In federal court, Republicans are suing to outlaw things like drop boxes or alternative voting locations for ballot- ballots. Is the party strategy here, too, as Democrats allege, basically try to limit the number of voters in order for Republicans to win? 

MCDANIEL: Well, let’s go back to the courts. The Democrats are suing–

MARGARET BRENNAN: This is a federal case.

MCDANIEL: The Democrats are suing in every state to get rid of signature verification, to extend the length of the election, to get rid of all the witness requirements to ensure election integrity. We are saying you can’t just change laws before the election. We- you need to have those safeguards in place. We need the surety. And we–

MARGARET BRENNAN: But you’re trying to outlaw drop boxes in Pennsylvania.

MCDANIEL: No, we are not. We are saying you should know where the drop boxes are. There should be monitoring. We should have a standard. You shouldn’t just be able to put them anywhere without notification. Those are the types of reasonable–


MCDANIEL: – -things that we are asking for. Also, we have won on Democrats trying to expand ballot harvesting, getting rid of signature verification, everything they are doing every single lawsuit we are in–


MCDANIEL: — is Democrats trying to upend election integrity. It is- 

MARGARET BRENNAN: It was a Trump appointed judge in Pennsylvania who just yesterday rejected the RNC’s effort to limit drop boxes because–

MCDANIEL: And we won in Pennsylvania. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: They said you didn’t even make a case. They said- you lost this one yesterday. They said you didn’t even make a speculative case on fraud. So what are you suggesting happen to all of those ballots that have already been cast?

MCDANIEL: What we’re saying, you should know where the drop boxes are, MARGARET, that’s pretty reasonable. There should be some notification. We also won in Pennsylvania as Democrats tried to expand ballot harvesting. We just won in Wisconsin. We just won in South Carolina. We just won in Iowa.

MARGARET BRENNAN: The question was about drop boxes. 

MCDANIEL: Look at those cases across the country. Yeah, and we should be able to know where those drop boxes are and they should be monitored. And I think that’s a very reasonable expectation that states shouldn’t be able to just put drop boxes in without any notification. But again, let’s go back to the crux of the issue. You have a Democrat running for president who wants to upend our entire fundamental system of government,–


MCDANIEL: –get rid of checks and balances, eliminate the filibuster, and stack the Supreme Court.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Chairwoman I appreciate you making the time. I wanted to talk about the mechanics of how people can actually vote and these pieces of litigation. We- we’re out of time. Thank you for joining us. I hope you feel better. FACE THE NATION will be right back with Michigan’s governor, Gretchen Whitmer.

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