“We have to be a party of inclusion.”
This was RNC Chair Ronna Romney McDaniel’s message in her remarks at Georgetown University on Tuesday night.
The event, which was cohosted by GU Politics and Georgetown College Republicans, mirrored a similar discussion between DNC Chair Tom Perez and GU Politics Executive Director Mo Elleithee held earlier this year. Among other topics, Chair Romney McDaniel sought to reconcile her philosophy of inclusion with the current demographics of the Republican party.
According to Romney McDaniel, “every community is better off when it is represented by two parties.” The chairwoman advised students, “If you do not see yourself represented in a party, join it and change it.”
Romney McDaniel, as the first woman to chair the Republican National Committee, is changing the way her own party operates. Romney McDaniel rejected the notion that women’s primary vote-moving issues are so-called “women’s issues.” She said, “You know, I really got sick and tired of being put in a corner as a woman voter, as just a single-issue voter . . . I found that really belittling.”
She continued, “We’re 53% of the electorate. We care about everything. So I think [the Republican party] is going to engage you on every issue. You may not agree with us on every issue, but I am never going to look at women as if they only care about one issue – ever. Women are absolutely involved and engaged and leaders in every spectrum of this country, and they need to be treated that way by both parties.”
The RNC Chair asserted that the administration needs to clarify the legal status of DACA students, and applauded bipartisan efforts to reform the immigration system. “You saw the president two weeks ago have dinner with Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi,” she noted. “I think that shows the business side of President Trump, someone who’s results-oriented and saying, ‘OK, if I can’t get it done with my party, I’m going to bring Democrats.’ And they showed up. I think that’s a good thing.”
According to Romney McDaniel, Washington must find bipartisan solutions to the country’s current crises – and the first step to bipartisanship is reaching out to members of the other party. “If you don’t listen to someone who has a different opinion from you, you are missing a learning opportunity,” she said.
Responding to the final question of the night, Romney McDaniel reiterated her hopes for inclusive and respectful political dialogue:
“We have to be respectful, and you can be leaders on this. You have to be leaders in this. My daughter wore a trump shirt and somebody spit on her – a 13 year old girl. Who would do that? This is wrong, what’s happening in this country right now. Be leaders. Don’t let that happen . . . We should be able to have a difference of opinion and vote for somebody and not be labeled hateful or bigoted or racist or angry or stupid or any other label . . . Anytime somebody is feeling like they cannot speak, and they cannot share what they think in this country, our country is going in the wrong direction.”