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Chuck Todd rips NBC News for hiring former RNC chair Ronna McDaniel

CNN  —  Former “Meet the Press” moderator Chuck Todd delivered a stunning rebuke of NBC News on Sunday, blasting the network for hiring former Republican National Committee chair Ronna McDaniel as a paid political analyst. Todd, who serves as the network’s chief political analyst, delivered his scathing criticism after McDaniel made her debut on the network during an interview with current “Meet the Press” moderator Kristen Welker. “There’s a reason a lot of journalists at NBC News are uncomfortable with this,” Todd said, explaining that under McDaniel, the RNC engaged in “gaslighting” and “character assassination” when dealing with the news media. As RNC chair, McDaniel was a prominent election denier, working to help disgraced former President Donald Trump subvert the 2020 vote. She also has a long track record form demonizing the news media, including launching ugly attacks on NBC News journalists and MSNBC hosts. It is unusual and widely considered unethical for a news organization to put an election denier on its payroll, never mind someone who for years has smeared the credibility of the organization and its journalists. Welker disclosed at the top of her Sunday morning program that the interview was scheduled to take place prior to NBC News announcing McDaniel would be a paid contributor. Welker also said she was not involved in McDaniel’s hiring. “I think our bosses owe you an apology for putting you in this situation,” Todd told Welker during the roundtable discussion that followed the interview. A spokesperson for NBC News declined to comment on Todd’s remarks. During her interview Sunday, McDaniel notably diverged from Trump on whether those who attacked the US Capitol on January 6 should be freed from prison. “We should not be attacking the Capitol; we should not be having violence,” she said. Asked why she didn’t offer such condemnation as RNC chairwoman, McDaniel responded, “When you’re the RNC chair, you kind of take one for the whole team. Right now, I get to be a little bit more myself.” McDaniel also reversed her position on whether President Joe Biden was legitimately elected in 2020. In an interview with CNN’s Chris Wallace last year, McDaniel refused to say that Biden’s victory was fair, echoing false claims from Trump in the wake of his electoral defeat. “I don’t think he won it fair,” she told Wallace. “I don’t. I’m not going to say that.” But on Sunday, McDaniel acknowledged that Biden won the 2020 election “fair and square” even as she voiced concern over “problems” with the vote. “I believe that both can be true,” she said. While McDaniel voiced new positions on key issues that became right-wing rallying cries in the wake of the 2020 vote, she largely stood by Trump’s messaging on the current affairs program, effectively using the platform to encourage audience members to vote for Trump in November. But Todd noted that because McDaniel was a paid network contributor, it was not clear whether she was being genuine. “I don’t know what to believe,” Todd said, adding that maybe she “didn’t want to mess up her contract.” In the face of the fierce internal and external backlash it has faced, NBC News has said it is important to have McDaniel’s voice on air to represent the Republican Party position on issues. But Todd disagreed with NBC News’ decision, adding that McDaniel has “credibility issues.”