Ramaswamy criticized the RNC for selecting NBC News to host the debate and accused the party of being on a losing streak under McDaniel's leadership. His remarks resonated with some members of the GOP who agreed with his concerns about the direction of the debates and the RNC's leadership.
Tyler Bowyer, an Arizona national committeeman, acknowledged the widespread demand for McDaniel's resignation, stating, "I think [Ramaswamy] is speaking for a lot of people. He’s the only one who was bold enough to say what he has seen from the base and the base is our primary voters."
During the debate, Ramaswamy used his response to criticize the leadership of his own party. He pointed out that since McDaniel became chairwoman in 2017, the party had experienced losses in the 2018, 2020, and 2022 elections.
He also suggested that the debates should be moderated by individuals like Tucker Carlson, Joe Rogan, and Elon Musk, who would attract more viewers and ask questions that GOP primary voters actually care about.
Ramaswamy's criticism extended to the media as well. He questioned why Kristen Welker, a moderator from NBC News, was chosen to host the debate and challenged her on the Trump-Russia collusion hoax. Ramaswamy accused Welker and the media establishment of promoting disinformation and demanded an answer to whether the collusion claims were real or fabricated by Hillary Clinton.
Following the debate, the Daily Caller reached out to RNC members for their reactions. The responses were mixed, with some supporting Ramaswamy's critique and others finding his comments inappropriate. Evan Power, vice chairman of the Republican Party of Florida, acknowledged that Ramaswamy raised valid concerns about the debates and the party's losses in major races.
However, there were also members of the RNC who defended McDaniel and the structure of the primary debates. The RNC communications team provided statements from five RNC national committee members and RNC state chairmen expressing support for McDaniel and the organization's debate structure.
Nevada GOP Chairman Michael J. McDonald praised McDaniel's leadership and her efforts to unite the party and make President Joe Biden a one-term president. California GOP Chairwoman Jessica Millan Patterson highlighted the strong infrastructure built by McDaniel and her commitment to helping Republicans win elections.
Ramaswamy's criticism found support among elected Republicans as well. Florida Republican Rep. Anna Paulina Luna called for a new RNC Chair, emphasizing the need for someone who understands grassroots activism. Luna expressed her desire to win and suggested that McDaniel's fundraising skills were not enough.
Jason Thompson, Georgia's national committeeman, echoed Ramaswamy's call for different debate moderators, mentioning Elon Musk, Joe Rogan, and Tucker Carlson as ideal choices. Thompson believed that such moderators would attract more viewers and create a different kind of debate experience.
McDaniel responded to Ramaswamy's criticism by dismissing it as a search for headlines. She also claimed that Ramaswamy had voted for Barack Obama, although his campaign website states that he voted for a libertarian candidate in 2004 and did not vote in his 20s.
Despite the backlash, McDaniel still enjoys significant support within the RNC. North Carolina RNC Chairman Michael Whatley praised McDaniel's efforts to provide an equal playing field for all candidates and ensure that their messages reach the American people.