RNC members and other sources who spoke to Fox News Digital claim that, one week away from a hotly disputed vote to choose the next Republican National Committee chair, Ronna McDaniel’s supporters are indulging in “religious intolerance” by disparaging candidate Harmeet Dhillon’s faith.
The RNC chair contest has recently been shaken by whispers that Dhillon’s opponents are raising issues regarding her being a Sikh of Indian descent. Now, some RNC members have chosen to publicly express their frustration and disappointment with the emphasis placed on Dhillon’s religious convictions for the first time.
In an email addressed to all 168 RNC members on Thursday night and obtained by Fox News Digital, North Dakotan RNC committeewoman Lori Hinz described how McDaniel backers are bringing up Dhillon’s faith in conversations.
Hinz said, “I’m sure many of you have read the tales or heard about the religious prejudice being promoted among our committee in order to degrade and discredit one of our own, my buddy, Harmeet Dhillon. “This has been bothering me for three weeks, and after praying about it, I decided I wanted to address it directly with you because I am one of the persons Ronna McDaniel’s Whip Team targeted with religious intolerance toward Harmeet.”
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On November 8, 2022, Ronna McDaniel, chairperson of the Republican National Committee, was spotted at the Westin Washington in Washington, D.C.
On November 8, 2022, Ronna McDaniel, chairperson of the Republican National Committee, was spotted at the Westin Washington in Washington, D.C. (Image credit: Tom Williams / CQ-Roll Call, Inc. via Getty Images)
During a phone discussion on December 28 with Tamara Scott, a committeewoman from Iowa who serves as the chair of the RNC’s Faith Advisory Board and supports McDaniel, Hinz, who supports Dhillon for chair, indicated that the race had come up.
Scott reportedly told Hinz that she and other RNC employees were concerned that if Harmeet Dhillon won the contest for RNC chair, the accomplishments accomplished by the Faith Advisory Board would be in peril. Scott responded, “Because of Harmeet’s Sikh views – she is not a Christian,” in response to Hinz’s subsequent question about why she would feel that way.
That someone would be ready to employ racism as a strategy to sway votes in favor of their favored candidate startled, dismayed, and frankly disgusted me, Hinz stated. What is she saying when she says that Harmeet Dhillon is unfit to lead the RNC because of her religious convictions?
Hinz went on to say that she respected Scott, hoped she would change the way she manipulates votes, and that she was concerned about Dhillon’s leadership skills but not her religious views. A candidate for chair of the RNC must receive at least 85 votes, or a majority of the 168 members’ votes, to win the position.
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Republican National Committee member from California Harmeet Dhillon is running for RNC chairman.
Republican National Committee member from California Harmeet Dhillon is running for RNC chairman. Bay Area News/Anda Chu/MediaNews Group via Getty Images )
McDaniel called for party unity in a statement to Fox News Digital, denouncing racism and mentioning that she belongs to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
McDaniel stated, “I vehemently abhor religious bigotry in any form. “These assaults are not appropriate for our party or for our politics because we are the party of freedom, family, and faith. I myself practice a minority faith, hence I would never support such assaults. I’ve promised to conduct a positive campaign, and I’ll keep doing it.”
Hinz claimed in an email to Fox News Digital that she attempted to “seek reconciliation” by first speaking with Scott about this matter before sending the email to her coworkers.
Hinz stated that “religious liberty is the cornerstone of our founding fathers’ vision for America.” “Our Republican platform and the United States Constitution allow Harmeet, me, and Tamara to practice our different religions as we see fit.”
Hinz said she was angry with McDaniel and RNC members for denying that Dhillon’s faith was being targeted in any way. MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, who is also vying to lead the committee, was wrongly receiving criticism for a strategy that “originated with Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel’s Whip Team, period,” according to the speaker.
On February 28, 2019, My Pillow Inc. President and CEO Mike Lindell gave a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland.
On February 28, 2019, My Pillow Inc. President and CEO Mike Lindell gave a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland. Associated Press/Getty Images
According to a GOP source close to the chairperson, Scott is not on McDaniel’s Whip team. Recent reports, however, claim that Dhillon’s religious convictions are also a target for Lindell’s fans.
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When contacted for comment, Scott expressed sadness at the claims of bigotry made against her on Fox News Digital.
Scott stated, “It’s disappointing and really hurtful to learn that a fellow RNC member would blatantly twist a private chat against me for personal or political advantage. “As the head of the RNC Faith Advisory Board, I am honored to have led the effort to reach out to voters of all faiths and religions along with other RNC members.
She stated, “Ronna McDaniel has been quick to denounce any bias, racism, or disparaging techniques toward committee members. I wished Harmeet Dhillon had followed suit.
Ronna McDaniel, chair of the Republican National Committee, committed to run a constructive campaign and that she deplored racism based on religion.
Ronna McDaniel, chair of the Republican National Committee, committed to run a constructive campaign and that she deplored racism based on religion. (Allen J. Schaben via Getty Images for the Los Angeles Times )
There have been numerous instances of McDaniel supporters concentrating on Dhillon’s faith as a component in the escalating campaign, in addition to the phone contact between Hinz and Scott.
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A clip of Dhillon performing a Sikh prayer during the 2016 Republican National Convention has been circulated, and doubts about Dhillon’s religion have been raised in Alabama by Chris Horn, a Republican analyst and the chair of Alabama’s Tennessee Valley Republican Club.
Apparently at the behest of his fiancée, an RNC employee who previously worked for McDaniel, Horn started spreading the clip and the information that Dhillon is a Sikh, claims a longtime north Alabama GOP operative who backs Dhillon.
In contrast, Horn vehemently disputed in an interview with Fox News Digital that anyone, including his fiancée, had ever encouraged him to conduct what he described as “due diligence” on a candidate for the position of Republican Party chairman.
On March 16, 2020, in Washington, President Trump addresses the media during a briefing with the coronavirus task team in the Brady press briefing room of the White House.
On March 16, 2020, in Washington, President Trump addresses the media during a briefing with the coronavirus task team in the Brady press briefing room of the White House. Evan Vucci for AP Photos
When people have questions about something or someone they don’t know about, he claimed, it’s not a bigoted strategy. “All right, let me find out whether you’re a Sikh.”
Horn added that because Dhillon, an attorney and former Trump campaign consultant from California, was unfamiliar to him and other Republicans in the South, they wanted to learn more about her, including whether or not she had engaged with minority groups. Her faith was one of the main topics they discussed.
I dare protect my right to inquire and respond to inquiries that all Americans have, he declared. What do you believe, and how does it affect my freedom, my relationships with family, and my faith both locally and globally?
Insisting that Sikhs are persecuting Christians in India, Horn claimed that the GOP is the party of faith and freedom as well as of “Judeo-Christian principles.” He urged Dhillon to distance herself from the alleged persecution and disavow it.
The north Alabama GOP operative referred to the emphasis on Dhillon’s beliefs as a “nothingburger,” claiming that what people really want is results, and Dhillon is the one who can give them.
Ronna McDaniel, the chair of the Republican National Committee, in the middle, at the conclusion of the RNC’s winter conference in Salt Lake City on February 4, 2022.
Ronna McDaniel, the chair of the Republican National Committee, in the middle, at the conclusion of the RNC’s winter conference in Salt Lake City on February 4, 2022. (Lee Ross for Fox News)
According to the source, Harmeet will run the RNC in accordance with and in line with the Republican agenda. “Ronna avoids doing that. There is absolutely no acknowledgement of the platform.”
In a recent statement, the Alabama Republican Party declared their “vote of no-confidence in Ronna McDaniel’s leadership” and stated that it “cannot support or recommend Ronna McDaniel for RNC chair.”
Several other state parties have followed suit, and dozens of important contributors have declared their support for Dhillon.
Due to his leadership of a lackluster campaign in the 2022 midterm elections, McDaniel has been under increasing criticism. As a result of Republicans winning fewer seats in Congress than many experts had projected, several Republicans have called for a change in the party’s leadership.
In addition to losing the White House and the Senate in 2020, Republicans also lost control of the House in 2018 under her leadership.
Tuesday saw the publishing of a letter praising McDaniel from more than 150 top Republican contributors.
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RNC members support McDaniel “because of her unprecedented investments in the grassroots, election integrity, and minority communities, as well as for taking on Big Tech and the biased Commission on Presidential Debates,” according to a statement released last week by McDaniel’s reelection campaign spokesperson Emma Vaughn.
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The RNC is “in a terrible situation,” according to Dhillon, who recently told Fox News Digital that. She attributed this to leadership’s refusal “to take responsibility for failings.”
A letter endorsing McDaniel was signed by 107 RNC members last month, significantly more support than she needs to win. Where the score now stands is unknown. At its winter meetings the following week, the party will elect its head.
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The attention placed on Dhillon’s religion, in the opinion of one seasoned RNC member from Oregon, is a sign that the party requires a change of course.
It is heartbreaking to see Harmeet Dhillon, an Asian-American RNC member, attacked for her faith, said Solomon Yue to Fox News Digital. “As the only Republican National Committeeman who was born in communist China, [which] persecuted my Christian faith during Mao’s Cultural Revolution before finding freedom in America, it is gut-wrenching to watch,” Yue said. “Ironically, Harmeet has been a constitutional attorney who has defended civil rights in court.
He continued, “We must reject religious intolerance and remove the present RNC chair in order to retain our republic, we must show our ability to defend religious liberty under the First Amendment.