Rachel Maddow speaks out on NBC hiring Ronna McDaniel

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Rachel Maddow on Monday night joined the resistance against NBC amid the network’s decision to hire former Republican National Committee (RNC) chairwoman Ronna McDaniel as an on-air contributor.

At the start of her 9 p.m. weeknight show, Maddow said the hiring of McDaniel—who until recently supported former President Donald Trump‘s claims that the 2020 election was stolen—to offer commentary during an election year was unfathomable.

“To me, that is inexplicable,” Maddow, MSNBC‘s top-rated political commentator and a frequent critic of Trump, said. “I mean you wouldn’t … you wouldn’t hire a made man, like a mobster, to work at a [district attorney’s] office, right? You wouldn’t hire a pickpocket to work as a TSA screener.”

Maddow Speaks Out on NBC Hiring McDaniel
Rachel Maddow speaks at Harvard University on October 16, 2017, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Maddow joined calls for NBC to reverse its decision to hire Ronna McDaniel as a political commentator.

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“And so I find the decision to put her on the payroll inexplicable, and I hope they will reverse their decision,” she added.

McDaniel was the second female and longest-serving RNC chair since the Civil War before announcing her plans to resign last month. Although she was backed by Trump for the position after his 2016 presidential win, McDaniel had since fallen out with the former president, who most recently endorsed his daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, to co-chair the party alongside North Carolina GOP Chair Michael Whatley, both of whom support unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud in 2020.

Maddow is among several MSNBC personalities who have rebuked the decision by their parent company, NBC, to offer McDaniel a position. Joe Scarborough, host of Morning Joe, opened his show Monday alongside co-host Mika Brzezinski attacking McDaniel as “an anti-democracy election denier,” and stated their strong objection to the decision to hire her.

According to Maddow, MSNBC personalities have been told that McDaniel “will not be on our air” after multiple staff members expressed issues with her hiring.

NBC also faced calls for a boycott over hiring McDaniel, which were sparked by a post to X, formerly Twitter, on Sunday by longtime NBCUniversal senior executive Mike Sington. The former executive asked his followers to boycott NBC’s flagship show, Meet the Press, where McDaniel was scheduled to make her debut later that day.

McDaniel told NBC News’ Kristen Welker in a pre-recorded interview that aired during Sunday’s show that Biden won the 2020 election “fair and square,” and denounced the January 6 violence at the U.S. Capitol.

Maddow said on Monday that issues with McDaniel’s hiring was “not about partisanship. It’s not about right versus left. It’s not about being a political professional versus some other kinds of person.”

“It’s about our system of government and undermining elections and going after democracy as an ongoing project,” Maddow added. “And this is a difficult time for us as a country. And I think that means we need to be clear-eyed about the implications of it.”

Newsweek reached out to NBC News via email for comment on Monday night.