Ronna McDaniel said publicly for the first time on Thursday that Joe Biden won the 2020 election.
"Painfully, Joe Biden won the election," she said. "He's the president. We know that."
The RNC chief said she believes the GOP remains tethered to Donald Trump and "would lose" without him.
Ronna McDaniel, chair of the Republican National Committee, acknowledged publicly for the first time on Thursday that President Joe Biden won the 2020 election.
"Painfully, Joe Biden won the election and it's very painful to watch," McDaniel told the audience at a breakfast in Washington hosted by the Christian Science Monitor. "He's the president. We know that."
McDaniel has established a "Committee on Election Integrity" at the RNC and claimed on Thursday that there were "lots of problems" with the 2020 election, despite there being no evidence of widespread election fraud. McDaniel's very delayed concession that former President Donald Trump lost the election is a testament to just how many Republicans either believe or refuse to contradict the false claim that Trump actually won the election.
Polling over the last year has consistently shown that the majority of Republican voters believe Trump won reelection in 2020. A Politico/Morning Consult poll conducted in June found that almost a third of registered Republicans believed the conspiracy theory that Trump would be reinstated as president this year.
The RNC chief, a close ally of Trump's, said on Thursday that she believes her party remains tethered to the former president.
"If he left the party, we would lose," McDaniel said of Trump. "If he left the party, Republicans would lose. He has built our party. He has added a new base."
McDaniel is the niece of Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, the 2012 GOP presidential nominee who voted with six other Republicans to convict Trump in the Senate trial after the Jan. 6 insurrection.
Trump insists that investigating false claims of election fraud is the "the single most important thing for Republicans to do" ahead of the midterms next year. But McDaniel argued that the GOP's focus should be on attacking Biden and his policies.
"I think every Republican right now should be talking about 2022. I'm not talking about anything else other than what Biden is doing to destroy our country: high gas prices, an open border, an opioid crisis," she said. "Everybody else can do their own thing, but I think we should be talking about Joe Biden."
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