The Republican National Committee has elected Ronna Romney McDaniel to serve as its chairwoman, making her the first woman to hold the role in three decades. Romney McDaniel, 43, is a staunch Donald Trump supporter who comes from a dynastic political family. Trump hand-picked her for the role, according to The Associated Press, marking a break from the mostly male cabinet and senior staff he’s selected.
"For far too long, Democrats have hailed themselves as the party of women," Romney McDaniel said. "As Republicans, we know their so-called monopoly on being the party of women is false, and it is a mindset I intend to change."
Former RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, who’s now Trump’s chief of staff, said it’s time a woman held this leadership role. "She is the right woman to lead the RNC," he said
Here’s what you need to know about her:
1. She is Mitt Romney’s niece.
Trump must have made for some awkward holiday conversation around the Romney table. Ronna's uncle, Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts and Republican presidential nominee in 2012, was one of Trump’s fiercest opponents during the election. Ronna not only supported the candidate but also served as a delegate to the Republican National Convention for Trump.
But Mitt and Ronna aren’t the only politicians in the family. Her grandfather, George Romney, was governor of Michigan; her dad, Scott Romney, ran unsuccessfully for attorney general of Michigan, according to the Detroit Free Press. And her mom, also named Ronna, ran for U.S. Senate twice in the ‘90s and lost. During one of the campaigns, Ronna, the daughter, served as her driver.
2. She helped secure a Trump win in Michigan.
Romney McDaniel was chair of the Michigan Republican Party, a post to which she was elected in 2015. Michigan went for Trump in the general election, marking the first time since 1988 that a Republican won the state. "We might not agree on everything,” Romney McDaniel said in a speech after her election, “but we can agree that seven years of liberal Obama policies have a destructive effect on our nation and we need to get a Republican in the White House through Michigan in 2016.”
3. She’s a married mother of two.
Romney McDaniel grew up in Michigan and went to Brigham Young University in Utah, where she studied English, according to the Northville (Michigan) Patch. (She lives in Northville.) In 2007, she moved back to Michigan with her husband, Patrick McDaniel, the president of an insurance company’s Detroit office, according to the Detroit Free Press. Together they have two children, Abigail and Nash.
4. She’s held a series of jobs outside the political world.
Romney McDaniel was a stay at mom while her children were younger, the Detroit Free Press said. She’s also worked as a manager for a staffing firm, a business manager for a video production company, and the production manager for an advertising agency.
During the 2012 presidential campaign, she served as her uncle’s political director in Michigan, according to the Northville Patch.
5. Her new job will require behind-the-scenes works.
Trump is expected to serve as the face of the Republican Party, The Associated Press pointed out, which means Romney McDaniel will play more of a behind-the-scenes role, focusing on fundraising and maintaining the nationwide data and field operation built during Priebus’ tenure. It remains to be seen whether she'll be a frequent TV guest — like her predecessor — or if that will fall on Trump and his senior advisor and former campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway.
"I am a mom from Michigan," Romney McDaniel said. "I am an outsider. And I am going to do everything I can to make sure Donald Trump and Republicans everywhere are successful."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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