Mitt Romney is the uncle of Ronna McDaniel, the chairwoman of the Republican National Committee. McDaniel previously went by Ronna Romney McDaniel before dropping the “Romney” when she was named by President Donald Trump to head the RNC as a result of his feud with her uncle.
The relationship between Romney and McDaniel flew into the spotlight again after Romney penned a New Year’s op-ed criticizing President Donald Trump.
Romney wrote in The Washington Post that Trump lacked the “character” befitting of a president. After Trump fired back at Romney, McDaniel sided with the president over her uncle in a tweet referring to Romney as just a “freshman senator.”
“POTUS is attacked and obstructed by the MSM media and Democrats 24/7. For an incoming Republican freshman senator to attack @realdonaldtrump as their first act feeds into what the Democrats and media want and is disappointing and unproductive,” McDaniel tweeted.
Romney penned the op-ed days before he was set to be sworn in as Utah’s newest Senator after winning the seat vacated by the retired Sen. Orrin Hatch.
McDaniel is Mitt’s Brother’s Daughter
Ronna McDaniel is Mitt Romney’s niece. She is the third child of his older brother Scott Romney and Ronna Stern Romney.
The family has deep ties to politics, The Detroit Free Press reported. Mitt’s father and McDaniel’s grandfather George Romney served as the governor of Michigan for three terms later served as the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under Richard Nixon.
McDaniel’s mother Ronna Stern Romney, Mitt’s sister-in-law, unsuccessfully ran for a US Senate seat in Michigan in 1996 before going on to serve on the Republican National Committee, which her daughter now heads. McDaniel’s grandmother, Lenore Romney, also ran for Senate in 1970.
McDaniel Previously Dropped ‘Romney’ From Her Name to Appease Trump
Until 2017, Mitt Romney’s niece went by Ronna Romney McDaniel. The Washington Post reported that President Trump asked McDaniel to stop using her middle name publicly amid an ongoing feud with her uncle.
Before Ronna Romney McDaniel took over as Republican National Committee chairwoman earlier this year, President Trump had a request: Would she be willing to stop using her middle name publicly?
Trump followed up by saying in a lighthearted way that McDaniel, the niece of former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, could do what she wanted, according to two people familiar with the comments. But the change was soon plain for all to see. Though she had used her maiden name for years in Michigan, where her grandfather George W. Romney had been governor, McDaniel dropped “Romney” from most official party communications and has rarely used it since.
Trump’s relationship with Mitt Romney has been messy. Trump endorsed Romney’s presidential bid in 2012 but Romney became a “Never Trumper” in 2016 and ripped the president as a “phony.” After trying to patch things up after Trump’s election and reportedly being passed over for the Secretary of State job, Romney continued to criticize Trump over his response to Charlottesville among other things but he ultimately earned the president’s endorsement after deciding to run for a US Senate seat in Utah.
In Romney’s final act before being sworn in on January 4, he wrote an op-ed calling the president’s character into question.
Ronna McDaniel Sided With Trump After Romney Wrote Scathing Op-Ed
McDaniel took the president’s side on Twitter after her uncle slammed Trump’s behavior in office.
“His conduct over the past two years, particularly his actions last month, is evidence that the president has not risen to the mantle of the office,” Romney wrote.
“A president should demonstrate the essential qualities of honesty and integrity, and elevate the national discourse with comity and mutual respect. … And it is in this province where the incumbent’s shortfall has been most glaring,” Romney wrote.
Romney wrote that he does not “intend to comment on every tweet or fault,” but that he will “speak out against significant statements or actions that are divisive, racist, sexist, anti-immigrant, dishonest or destructive to democratic institutions.”
The president responded to Romney’s criticism by urging him to be a team player.
“Here we go with Mitt Romney, but so fast!” Trump wrote. “Question will be, is he a Flake? I hope not. Would much prefer that Mitt focus on Border Security and so many other things where he can be helpful. I won big, and he didn’t. He should be happy for all Republicans. Be a TEAM player & WIN!”