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Some RNC staffers did not vote for Trump amid 2020 campaign power struggle, new book claims

Some Republican National Committee (RNC) officials didn’t vote for then-President Trump in last November’s election, according to a forthcoming book by Wall Street Journal reporter Michael Bender. 

And excerpts from “Frankly, We Did Win This Election: The Inside Story of How Trump Lost,” that were exclusively obtained by Fox News on Tuesday, also spotlight the alleged friction between RNC chair Ronna McDaniel and Bill Stepien, who took over as Trump reelection campaign manager last summer.

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And according to another excerpt from the book, Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, after losing a power struggle with McDaniel over a new online fundraising program implemented by the national party, said he didn’t “give a f—k” about the future of the GOP.

Wall Street Journal White House Reporter Michael Bender’s new book “Frankly, We Did Win This Election: The Inside Story of How Trump Lost” will be released on July 13.

One set of excerpts from the book detail how by the 2020 election cycle – under the leadership of McDaniel, who was chosen by Trump in 2017 to chair the party – the RNC was working hand in hand with the Trump reelection team on the president’s bid for a second term in the White House.

“By 2020, the RNC wasn’t merely an extension of the Trump campaign. (2020 campaign manager) Brad Parscale had effectively turned them into a full partner, and Ronna had become one of the president’s closest advisers. The RNC was paying for the field staff. They were covering costs for state directors who couldn’t get calls returned from campaign headquarters. Even the lease for the campaign headquarters was being paid for by the RNC,” Bender wrote.

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But in a major shakeup in July of 2020, longtime Trump political adviser Bill Stepien replaced Parscale as campaign manager.

“One major change when Stepien took over as campaign manager was the reelection campaign’s relationship with the Republican National Committee. Friction remained from the 2016 race between Stepien and much of Ronna’s senior leadership team. Ronna was running the Michigan Republican Party during that race, but Stepien disapproved of her decision to keep many of those same RNC staffers in her orbit,” according to the excerpts.

Bender wrote that under Stepien “Ronna was often left on the outside looking in—sometimes literally. In June, she had arrived at the White House for a political meeting, but waited in the lobby for more than an hour before she was brought into the Oval. When she walked in, the president asked why she was so late. ‘They don’t want me sitting in the meetings with you,’ Ronna told him.”

But the book charges that “Stepien was correct to question the loyalty and dedication of Ronna’s staff to Trump. The president’s handling of Covid and the White House’s treatment of Ronna had top staffers inside the RNC openly musing—for the first time in their lives—about not voting for the Republican nominee for president. Ultimately, some did not cast their Election Day ballot for Trump.”

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Bender also highlighted the power struggle between Kushner, who had a leading over seeing his father-in-law’s eventually unsuccessful reelection effort, and McDaniel.

Bender charged that the creation of WinRed – the exclusive online fundraising program used this past cycle by the Trump campaign, the RNC, and down ballot GOP campaigns to compete with the Democrats very successful ActBlue operation – “exposed tensions at the highest level of Trump World that finally exploded into an intense argument between Ronna and Jared inside the Trump Hotel.”

According to the excerpts, “Jared didn’t think the RNC could pull off the new operation and considered doing it himself.”

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And Bender claimed that McDaniel “viewed the WinRed deal as a legacy project that could benefit the party for years to come. Keeping the new company as a nonprofit, she told Jared, would make sure it remained as an arm of the RNC.”

Bender alleged that “Jared wasn’t interested. ‘I don’t give a f–k about the future of the Republican Party!’ he told Ronna inside the hotel meeting room. ‘Good to know,’ Ronna shot back. ‘I will be running for chair for a second term, and I will make sure you don’t come anywhere near this!’”

Fox News’ Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report