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Members gather for Republican National Committee winter meeting at $900-a-night

The 168 members of the Republican National Committee began assembling in California on Wednesday, where they will gather in a $900-a-night hotel to pick their next leader.

Harmeet Dhillon, a Trump-allied lawyer who is running against incumbent Ronna McDaniel, said the cost was typical of the wasteful leadership she was trying to overturn,

‘At a time of economic catastrophe in our country, when we are losing elections, I would have made a different choice if I were the chair,’ she told DailyMail.com.

‘I would have chosen a venue that is easy to get to and also on a par with what our voters and activists would like to see us doing.’

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Members of the Republican National Committee begin their winter meeting in California on Wednesday, which includes voting to select a new chair. But the decision to hold it at the Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach hotel, where rooms start at $900, has triggered a row

Challenger Harmeet Dhillon

RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel

Harmeet Dhillon is running to unseat Ronna McDaniel as chairwoman, and says the choice of venue shows how the RNC and its profligate spending are out of touch with voters

McDaniel is on course to win a fourth term.

But Dhillon is joined by MyPillow founder and Trump Loyalist Mike Lindell in trying to overturn the status quo as some grassroots members look for a change after disappointing midterm results. 

Organizers say they have negotiated a cut-price rate for members to stay at the Waldorf Monarch Beach Hotel. 

Dhillon said the choice of a luxury resort, more than an hour from Los Angeles, with its three swimming pools and golf course, reflected bad spending choices under McDaniel and risked looking out-of-touch with the grass roots.

‘We have to be sensitive to the fact that people are flying in and paying $100 on taxi to get here, then spending a lot to stay here,’ she said.

‘This is emblematic of some of the spending choices on our part, which is one of the the messages of my campaign, which is the wasting of money of donors.’

She condemned the way campaigns have spent tens of millions of dolllars on consultants, while failing to deliver a wide majority in the House and leaving the Senate in Democrat hands.

The spending of the RNC has been a regular target of Fox News hosts, who have homed in on a Red State blog post that said it had spent at least $750,000 just on floral arrangements under McDaniel. 

Rooms at the Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach hotel start at more than $820, plus a $55 resort charge and taxes.

Rooms start at more than $820 plus a $55-a-night resort charge and taxes

Rooms start at more than $820 plus a $55-a-night resort charge and taxes

'With top-rated dining, a private beach club, championship golf, and an expansive spa among the activities and amenities on our 175 oceanfront acres, anything is possible¿because everything is here,' reads the hotel website blurb

‘With top-rated dining, a private beach club, championship golf, and an expansive spa among the activities and amenities on our 175 oceanfront acres, anything is possible—because everything is here,’ reads the hotel website blurb

The hotel brands itself as one of the most luxurious spots around Dana Beach, about an hour’s drive down the coast from Los Angeles. 

‘With top-rated dining, a private beach club, championship golf, and an expansive spa among the activities and amenities on our 175 oceanfront acres, anything is possible—because everything is here,’ reads the website blurb.

A room-service burger (on a brioche bun with truffle aioli) costs a cool $33.

The hotel bar serves a $62 old fashioned cocktail (made with 12-year-old WhistlePig), which comes in a shroud of smoke.

And a lobster pot pie at the Bourbon Steak restaurant will set diners back a whopping $130.  

Organizers say they have negotiated a discount, which means members pay $250 a night.

‘The RNC considers many factors when planning for our member meetings, including a hotel that has the necessary meeting space, event production capabilities, several hundred rooms for our members and their guests, and security among other factors,’ said spokeswoman Danielle Alvarez.

‘The cost for this meeting is in line with or below costs for previous meetings.’ 

Broadcaster John Fredericks, who chaired Trump’s 2016 and 2020 campaigns in Virginia, said valet parking cost more than $100 a night so he was presenting his show from another hotel.

‘The optics are terrible,’ he said. 

‘It’s just a another example of the complete disconnection that Chairman McDaniel has to the grass roots. 

‘Having this meeting here for her reelection in one of the most luxurious and expensive resorts in the United States?

‘She does this so ordinary Americans can’t come.’ 

Mike Lindell, MyPillow founder and uber Trump loyalist, is the third candidate in the race

Mike Lindell, MyPillow founder and uber Trump loyalist, is the third candidate in the race

It adds to an already bitter campaign.  Friday’s vote for RNC chair is just the latest example of the forces tearing apart the party.

The infighting was on very public display as members of Congress almost came to blows before finally electing Rep. Kevin McCarthy as House speaker on the 11th vote.

Different wings blame the other for a poor showing in last year’s midterm elections.

And Trump, for six years the undisputed power in the party, could face a strong challenge from Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis as he seeks the 2024 nomination.

A protracted battle for the RNC chair could only deepen that sense of division.

The campaign has already been marked by bad-tempered exchanges.

Dhillon has set the blame for the midterms at McDaniel’s door, saying the RNC failed to mobilize the vote as well as the Democratic Party. 

McDaniel contends that the problem lay with weak candidates, and has said she is the candidate of unity.

Dhillon’s campaign scoffs at the claim pointing out that a string of state parties has passed no-confidence votes in the chairwoman. 

‘The job of the Republican party chair is to unify Republicans so it is very impressive of Ronna McDaniel to unify all factions of the Republican Party against her candidacy,’ said Dhillon’s spokeswoman Caroline Wren.

Former President Donald Trump's shadow looms large over proceedings. But even his supporters are split, with some siding with his old ally McDaniel but his more radical followers, such as Arizona's Kari Lake, backing Dhillon

Former President Donald Trump’s shadow looms large over proceedings. But even his supporters are split, with some siding with his old ally McDaniel but his more radical followers, such as Arizona’s Kari Lake, backing Dhillon

The campaign took a darker turn in recent weeks, with claims that a McDaniel ally used Dhillon’s Sikh faith as a negative factor in private conversations. 

And in another sign of the divisions, Trump has seen his own loyalists split as they decide how best to shake up the status quo.

He has kept out of publicly backing a candidate in order to protect the neutrality of the RNC during the party nominating process. 

But aides have let it be known that he is quietly backing McDaniel, whom he supported in 2016 when she first took the post. 

Former White House adviser Kellyanne Conway and former chief of staff Reince Priebus will be in McDaniel’s unofficial whipping team, according to the Associated Press.

Three of Trump’s current top advisers, including Susie Wiles, who is a key figure in running his campaign, will be there. 

Kari Lake, who was narrowly beaten in the race for Arizona governor, and Turning Point USA head Charlie Kirk will be in Dhillon’s corner. 


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