The RNC on keeping money from alleged sexual abusers: It’s OK if you’re a Republican

"We're gonna let due process take place."

CREDIT: Fox News/Screenshot
CREDIT: Fox News/Screenshot

During a Fox News interview on Tuesday morning, Ronna McDaniel, chair of the Republican National Committee, made excuses for why the party isn’t planning to give back money donated by Steve Wynn, the former RNC finance chair who recently resigned amid accusations he assaulted and harassed dozens of women.

Asked by host Sandra Smith if the RNC is going to “give back” any of the roughly $200,000 Wynn gave to Republicans last year — $69,000 of which went directly to the RNC — McDaniel indicated her committee will not.

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“So the allegations in the Wall Street Journal were deeply troubling — they were so troubling that withing 24 hours, Steve was no longer our finance chair,” McDaniel said. “But Steve has denied these allegations, unlike Harvey Weinstein and Al Franken and others. Steve has denied them, there is an investigation that is going to take place, he should be allowed due process and if he is found of any wrongdoing, we will absolutely return 100 percent of that money. But we’re gonna let due process take place.”

But McDaniel didn’t have concerns about “due process” when the accusations against Weinstein were in the news last October. McDaniel repeatedly called for the Democratic National Committee to return all of the money given to it by Weinstein, despite the fact he hadn’t admitted to assault or harassment.

On October 5, the RNC published a press release headlined, “RNC Calls On Democrats And The DNC To Return Dirty Harvey Weinstein Cash.” In it, McDaniel is quoted as saying, “During three-decades worth of sexual harassment allegations, Harvey Weinstein lined the pockets of Democrats to the tune of three quarters of a million dollars. If Democrats and the DNC truly stand up for women like they say they do, then returning this dirty money should be a no brainer.”

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During a CNN appearance days later, McDaniel sought to distinguish between the allegations against Weinstein and the 14 sexual assault accusations against President Trump, noting that Weinstein had agreed to settlements with some of his accusers.

“It’s not even comparable. Harvey Weinstein brought women into hotel rooms. To even to make that comparison is disrespectful to the president,” McDaniel said. “He didn’t have eight settlements, he didn’t have women coming forward say what — Harvey Weinstein admits that he did that.”

But Wynn reportedly agreed to a $7.5 million settlement with a manicurist who says he forced her to have sex with him. So by McDaniel’s October logic, Wynn is already guilty.

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Trump has not admitted to sexually harassing or assaulting any of the 14 women who have come forward. But the Journal recently broke news that in 2006, Trump had an affair with an adult film actress, and later agreed to pay her $130,000 for her silence.

McDaniel’s reference during Tuesday’s Fox News interview to “an investigation” that could clear up whether Wynn is guilty of “any wrongdoing” is farcical, given that it’s being conducted by the board of director of Wynn Resorts, the company Wynn founded and currently serves as CEO.

The RNC isn’t the only Republican organization trying to walk a tightrope in its response to the Wynn misconduct news. On Monday, the  Republican Governors Association (RGA) announced that its returning $100,000 in donations from Wynn. But that means the association is in fact keeping almost all of the more than $2.5 million Wynn has donated to the RGA since 2012.