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Dan Bongino Wasn’t Going Six Feet Deep Without Taking His Shot at Talk Radio

BNM’s Jim Cryns stated that he firmly but kindly informed Dan Bongino I would whip his a– if he didn’t behave during our interview.

Jim Cryns

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I firmly but kindly informed Dan Bongino I was going to whip his a– if he didn’t behave during our interview. He dutifully listened quietly and respectfully. Then answered my questions for the next 40 minutes. 

If you believe that, you’re going to gobble up the rest of this piece.

In the 1990s, Bongino was a New York police officer. Later, he became a Secret Service Agent. He ran for Congress three times, then pivoted to right-wing commentary. Now he hosts one of the most successful radio shows in the country. Last month, Unfiltered with Dan Bongino, was the #1 cable news prime program with total viewers and the 25-54 demo on Saturdays.

Steven Spielberg couldn’t find funding for a script like that. Nobody would believe the yarn.

Switching gears from being a Secret Service agent to a radio talker is like a garbage collector choosing to become a ballerina. Both seem absurd, but in Dan Bongino’s case, very real. 

In 2006, Bongino joined the elite Presidential Protective Division during the administration of President George W. Bush. He became one of the earliest tenured agents to be given responsibility for an operational section of the presidential detail and he remained on protective duty with President Obama.

Yes, Bongino told me he would have taken a bullet for President Obama in the line of duty. We didn’t discuss if he’d do that today as he’s a radio host.

So, what do listeners seek when they tune in to Bongino’s show?

“I can only speculate and go by their feedback,” Bongino said. “I rely on my Facebook page and email from my website to get a better idea of how they’re reacting to my show.”

Bongino said when he started his own show he was given a ton of ‘advice’ from radio professionals. Suggestions Bongino dumped right in the circular file.

“They told me, ‘Don’t read all the feedback, you’ll go crazy.’ I read the feedback.’ I find the feedback to be incredibly instructive. Most often I’ll hear the comment, ‘You tell it like it is.’ I guess I do. A lot of that has to do with me not growing up in the business. I’m a business owner, tech investor. Radio came later. I’ve seen all these worlds with my own two eyeballs, and heard with my own two ears.”

Those experiences have helped make him an explosive, controversial voice on the radio. The man could make Andre the Giant cringe in a fetal position.

“I enjoyed my time with the Secret Service,” Bongino said. “It was my dream job. What I always wanted was to be a Federal Agent and it was tough to leave.”

I’m still a little vexed at how you go from taking a bullet for a president to sitting in front of a microphone. Radio is a tough industry, but c’mon.

“I didn’t like the idea that we were losing the country after Obama’s election. I felt like an eagle had his talons in me,” Bongino explained. “I had a hard time sitting around, just swallowing what was going on around me. I felt I had to do something. I had a comfy Federal job. Why would I give that up? It’s not like you’re going to get fired unless you do something stupid. Like a lot of people, I felt helpless. I decided I didn’t want to go six feet deep without taking a shot.” 

In radio or on the Secret Service job?

Bongino did some appearances on local radio. They must have gone well as he was asked to parlay his popularity on a weekend gig at WMAL. 

“It wasn’t my own show, but I was one of the regular hosts,” he said. 

With the appearances on WMAL going well, an astute PD recognized the kids’ talent and Bongino started guest-hosting on WCBM, and WBAL.

“Things were going well and I got what you’d call my big break.”

 Actually, Bongino created his own big break. Huge break. Monumental break. 

“I was listening to Neal Boortz fill in for Hannity and thought that would be fun,” Bongino said. “I called Lynda McLaughlin from the Sean Hannity show and asked her if I could host at some point.” He made the call from the privacy of his basement so he wouldn’t be interrupted. McLaughlin asked if he could come up the following week. 

Hell yes I can!

I’m imagining that’s how he got his job with the Secret Service. He watched Clint Eastwood in Line of Fire and figured, that looks like fun. I’ll give them a call.

I told him his call to McLaughlin required balls the size of grapefruits. 

“What other sizes of balls are there?” Bongino joked. (Or was he joking?)

After the call, he started filling in for Hannity. To be fair, Bongino had some familiarity with McLaughlin.

“I’d done a number of guest spots with Fox, so she knew who I was. It wasn’t like Tom from New Jersey just called Lynda and asked if he could host. She took a shot on me and it was a risky call. I’ll always be grateful to her.”

That’s a huge fill-in gig. Like Carrot Top filling in for Johnny Carson. Bongino said he liked Hannity’s crew and has since grown to know them well. Not long after that, Bongino started his own podcast, The Dan Bongino Show. 

“I started the podcast by putting 10,000 on my credit card. Got a producer.” 

Bongino filled in for Mark Levin and his voice and face were gaining worldwide recognition. 

Then, a big loss for conservative radio when Rush Limbaugh died.

“After Rush passed, way too soon, I was called and asked how I’d feel to take over that slot. Notice I didn’t say his show.” 

Limbaugh worked for Premiere, but some may have seen it the other way around. The former NYC cop and Secret Service agent would be taking over 300 affiliates. It was easily one of the biggest launches in the history of radio.

“I remember every second of that first day,” Bongino said. “I’d been filling in for Levin and Hannity, and a contributor for Fox for 10 years. I was excited, but I wasn’t nervous. It’s the cliche, you never forget how to ride a bike.”

Only this bike had Honus Wagner and Babe Ruth cards in the spokes.

Conservatism is what matters to Bongino. The money and fame have come with the territory, but they’re not what he thinks about in the morning when his feet hit the ground of the floor on his immensely expensive home.

Bongino was full of excitement when he was tapped to take over Rush’s time slot, not show. He was adamant about informing Rush’s audience about some ground rules.

“I said in the first open if they thought I was there to replace Rush, they should tune out at that moment because I can’t.  I told them, ‘Seriously, go listen to another show. I can’t replace the MVP of the league for the last 20 years. Rush invented the game of conservative audio. If you’re looking for someone to replace him, let’s break up right here, rip the Band Aid off and get over it right now.’”

Nobody seemed to listen to Bongino. 

“I was there and stayed because I wanted to. Financially, I’ve done fine on my own. I still ask myself how somebody replaces Rush Limbaugh.”

Don’t ask Yankee Wally Pipp. It turned out pretty well for Lou Gehrig.

“The second ground rule was to honor the man’s legacy, to never embarrass him.”

Those are huge shoes to fill. Jimmy Fallon is no Johnny Carson. Then again, Fallon’s not even a Pat Sajack. 

“I suck compared to Rush,” Bongino said.  “He could talk for an hour about a firefighter’s uniform, how cool the buttons are on the sleeves. It’s a gift. I think my show is good or I wouldn’t waste listeners’ time. But it’s not as good as Rush’s.  Rush was AAA ball and I’m AA. I’m fine with that. He was a guy that consumed his product. He’d go on for hours about technology. I can barely turn off my phone. I ask my wife to download apps for me because I don’t know how the hell to do it.”

Bongino said everything he does on the air is intuitive. His style is different. 

“I never wanted to clone Rush. I think he was more optimistic than I am. He had more patience with people.” 

Still, Bongino said he shares some traits with Limbaugh. 

“We both had the passion. Rush could have walked away anytime he wanted. He had ‘stupid money.’  (We acknowledged there is another popular term for that kind of money.) Rush probably didn’t know how much was in his bank account. We both love what we do. There’s an energy to live radio you can’t find anywhere else. Podcasts are great, but you can edit, alter the product. On the radio we’re live, working without a net. It’s a unique platform.”

Bongino said he was grateful for the seven-second delay. 

“There are some things I’ve said that I probably shouldn’t have,” he smiled through the phone. “People call me and ask if it’s ‘still radio’ the way we knew it. Those who listen to me know what we call radio is really an audio delivery mechanism. When I first started, people would sit you down and say, ‘I want to coach you; You shouldn’t say ‘folks’ on the radio, don’t ever tell anyone what you’re going to talk about for the rest of the show, don’t tell people what you did on the weekend, they don’t care.’”

Trust me, he doesn’t. 

If you’ve been paying attention, what do you think Bongino did with that advice from PDs, and management? He did everything they suggested he not do. What else did you expect?

Rush’s listener base was ridiculous. It sounds weak and lame, but we’re all independent thinkers. We’d go to Rush to get grounded. Dana, Clay and Buck are all great voices, but I think they’d tell you the same thing. We’d tune into Rush at noon as you’d tune into the Godfather of radio. Voices are fragmented now, but there are some great voices out there.” 

After our conversation about radio ran its course, I had one nagging question. Would Bongino really take a bullet for a president?

“Yes, absolutely,” he said. And I believe him. “But bravery isn’t in taking the bullet. You’re going to do that by instinct. You train for that. It’s kind of like a football game. Everybody on the presidential detail has a figurative number, a play. With that number, the offensive tackle does what they’re supposed to do. The fullback goes through the fourth hole. You’re just going to do it. You’re not going to bitch about it. You’re not going to celebrate a good play.”

Bongino said the bravery was in choosing the career, to instinctively go in front of a person and risk your life. 

“We call it an ‘assault on the principle,’” he said. “We go over it so much, it’s a natural reaction. You’re not going to think about it. It’s reflexive. We do a lot of training to distinguish between a balloon popping and a round of ammunition. You learn to discriminate between the sounds. I’m not saying it’s easy, but you learn.”

You think criticism of a PD or a listener is going to phase him? Think again.  The man trained to run in front of an assailant, akin to the heroes at Normandy.

Not one single person was surprised when they heard Bongino wanted to be a NYC cop. Not a single person on earth was surprised to know he wanted to be in the Secret Service. 

“When it came to a career in radio, it was the inverse reaction,” Bongino explained. Everyone was like, ‘What the hell?’ I never talked about politics. I guess I got fed up with all the cancel-culture dipshits.”

Is it hard to handle the accolades from having a huge national presence?

“My Aunt Jane told me once that self-praise stinks. I’ve always been cautious about that. I know I’ve taken a lot of chances in my life. What the hell, it’s those chances that make interesting stories.”

“All the stories I’m telling you are born out of apocalyptic failures,” Bongino said. “Failure is a gift forcing you to try something different.”

BNM Writers

Dagen McDowell Is Ready For A New Adventure With Fox Business

“Every decision in America is born of policy, On the show, we bring that to our show. Talk about the news of the day.”

Jim Cryns

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To know Dagen McDowell, you must understand what she comes from, where she comes from. You won’t know her until you know the lessons, kindness, and determination set forth by her parents.

Her parents operated a small grocery store, LW Roark and Company. Charles and Joyce McDowell were high school sweethearts and both went to college but decided to go back home and open a business. “This is in the middle of nowhere,” McDowell said. “It was a wholesale grocery store. They sold it in the late 90s.”

She said her parents were smart, encouraging, and took every opportunity to teach McDowell and her brother.

“They’d constantly talk up people who came into the store. Both of them have and had an insatiable curiosity about everything. They felt they learned things through their customers. It was more fun to learn about things from other people.”

McDowell’s parents never took a week off work. Never. The family took no vacations as most families would. Once while McDowell was in college at Wake Forest University, the family visited the Air and Space Museum on the Mall in D.C.

“Both of my parents were very interested in architecture and landscapes. We’d go to Williamsburg and just look at the buildings.”

McDowell joined FOX News Channel in 2003 and helped launch FOX Business Network as a founding anchor in 2007.

Her mother passed away three years ago and her father is still very much a part of her life. Her father was a constant teacher.

“One time my father, who we called Dowell McDowell, was putting up an outbuilding and asked me how long one line should be if the other line was such and such. He taught me the Pythagorean theorem when I was about 4 years old.”

McDowell was nurtured by parents with endless curiosity.

“I was raised by parents who would always debate and converse around the dinner table. We shared breakfast and dinner together every day. They loved learning, were always inquisitive, never afraid to ask a question. My parents shared a fearlessness and passed that on to me. I’ve never been embarrassed to ask people questions. I love talking to people and finding out about things.”

For a long time, McDowell had no idea what she wanted to do for a living. She knew if she worked at different jobs she’d eventually figure out what she was good at.

“I knew I was a decent writer, but I always tried to get information out of people, what they were doing. Ask if they were fulfilled and happy.”

At Wake, Forest McDowell majored in art history and had every intention of working in a museum, possibly as a curator.

“I interned at the Center for Contemporary Arts. I lived in Venice, Italy for a while. Wake Forest owns a house in Venice.”

After that it was Colorado. She moved back to New York during the recession of 1991 with a duffel bag. She took the Amtrak to New York City and sublet an apartment for six months.

“I had no TV, just a radio. I knew I could find something good to do in New York, there were so many jobs. I always wanted to live in the city. Either the city or way out in the country. Nowhere in between.”

She said being in New York made her feel anything was possible. This was January in 1994 when job ads were still in the physical newspaper, like the New York Times. McDowell interviewed at Institutional Investor through a referral from a friend.

“It was a brilliant magazine with terrific writing,” McDowell explained. “Very prominent in the industry. They were looking for someone to work with the newsletter written for the financial community.”

She’d cover topics like the bond business, Wall Street, and money management. The magazine made her take a reporting test where you’d make up a story and write it. She was offered a job and worked there for three years.

“I learned to be a journalist there,” McDowell said. “I could write but I became a better journalist. We’d break news, create our sources, and learn more and more about finance. People love to talk about what they do if you show interest.”

The next big job was SmartMoney.com, a resource and web newspaper for private investors. There McDowell wrote a personal finance column. She started doing commentary on television shows, the way a lot of people in different professions tend to do. “Then I started making more appearances on weekend financial or business shows,” McDowell said.

She got a call from Neil Cavuto about 20 years ago and he told McDowell, ‘Kid, you want a job? I know you don’t have much professional TV experience. We’ll give you some training and you’ll figure it out. If you do, you stay. If not, you go.’

McDowell said she was glad she was a writer first before she arrived at Fox. She writes her own scripts and has a background in finance and business writing.

“Before the business network was launched, they had only one business reporter and two senior business correspondents,” she said. “I’ve gotten to do so many different jobs, use different muscles, so to speak. As the years have passed I’ve discovered other talents I may have and I’m incredibly grateful for that.”

There’s a new show in town. McDowell and Sean Duffy will co-host The Bottom Line which will air on weeknights from 6-7:00 PM ET.

McDowell said she and Duffy come from extremely similar backgrounds. Duffy is from rural Wisconsin and McDowell is from Virginia.

“We know what small-town living is like, “McDowell said. “I might live in New York City but where I grew up affects the way I view the world. I’m still grounded in my hometown. On the show, we look south and west with everything we cover. You have to think of your audience. Rather than talking about them, we talk with them. That’s our shared background and vision. Sean is extremely down to earth and generous.”

McDowell said the show is not financially based, but steeped in business.

She said Duffy’s experience as a former U.S. Congressman, he understands policy as well as financial matters.

“Every decision in America is born of policy,” she said. “On the show, we bring that to our show. Talk about the news of the day.”

This is different from anything McDowell has done in the past.

“It’s a two-anchor show in the evening,” she explained. “This is not taking place during market hours. We tie all the business happenings together from the day. Again, it’s not about Washington or New York. It’s about the people we grew up with. We talk to them. Build a relationship with them on the air. For me, this is not just sitting in front of a camera. I can run off at the mouth as well as anyone, hang in there with the filibuster.”

McDowell says she is blunt, but hopes she isn’t rude. During a recent interview for the new show she used the terms ‘pig potatoes’ and ‘chapped backsides.’

“Those are terms I just made up,” she said. “I make up a lot of phrases and don’t always know what they mean. I have an entire repertoire of those kinds of phrases.”

Duffy assumed they were southern phrases he had to learn from McDowell, but she assured him she’d never heard them anywhere else.

“I’m just making stuff up,” McDowell said. “You can’t curse. Can’t say BS. At least you shouldn’t say BS on television. You don’t want to say manure. You never want to say something that makes people wince or evokes a smell.”

Dealing with people directly and bluntly seems to come from her mother.

“My mother had grit,” McDowell said. “She was also very kind, never syrupy. I used to say she had no magnolia-mouth.

That’s got to be a southern phrase.

McDowell said her mother was not a servile flatterer, but she was kind. Always there when somebody was in need.

“She had real grit. She’d stand and fight for her friends and family members.”

Her mother passed away after being diagnosed with stage-four cancer.

“She went through unimaginable pain,” McDowell said of her mother. “For nearly six years. You want to talk about somebody who was tough. There was nobody more pugnacious than my mother.”

She explained even with her illness, her mother was always on the go. Continuing to live her life. When questioned about being so active while she was ill, her mother continued to show grit.

“My mother would say she didn’t want to walk around looking like she had cancer. She asked, ‘What choice do I have? I could lay in bed and wait to die, or I can get up and do what I can .’”

McDowell said her mother’s illness taught her to be a caregiver in ways she never could have imagined. Her mother taught her to find moments of joy every single day, in the smallest of things.

“It can be as simple as telling a stranger to have a great day. Treat a perfect stranger with kindness. I do it all day long. I know it sounds corny, but I want to be known as a person who brings a casserole to a friend when they’re ill.”

A one-sheet from Fox tells you McDowell and the culmination of her background is perfect for The Bottom Line. The fact is, it’s true.

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BNM Writers

Airing The Tyre Nichols Video Was A Necessity

There were hard moments to watch in those videos, hard sounds to hear. But they aired.

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Far be it for me not to address this outrageous and embarrassing instance in humanity. After the videos of Memphis police brutally beating Tyre Nichols were shown on television there really seemed to be more outrage emerging from society this time than from the media, for a change. One would think that’s how we wish things to be.

In instances like this, where the video and audio images are far from brief but are instead chaptered as they unfold, there are few options other than to let them run their course. Clocks — breaks hard and soft — are out the window, just as in live coverage.

Because that’s what this was, only the live this time was us, and as we all absorbed and reacted to actions disapprovingly familiar yet somehow foreign at the same time, the impact was still becoming apparent even though we already knew the outcome.

It’s happened before.

Not always like this but we’ve seen it before, police encounters shown on the news overtakes and become the news.

It takes effect as the sights and sounds are digested, dissected, and discussed, often before their potential impact could really be imagined.

In 1991, when the Handycam footage crossed screens for the first time and we learned Rodney King’s name, we didn’t know then but we had a feeling.

We were on the right track, though as newsrooms evolved and street reporting incorporated a different type of storytelling.

I was a cop in 1991. Changes came. Some.

It’s 2023, I’m no longer a cop. Changes will come again. Some.

Turning points — or the overused watershed moments — mean just as much to the news media as they do to law enforcement.

The “why’s” that make this a turning point are more society and community based this time around than they were in 1991.

At least I think so. And I don’t think it makes a bit of difference who’s involved this time.

There were hard moments to watch in those videos, and hard sounds to hear. But they aired. Where they couldn’t air, they were described in great detail; descriptions sometimes can be worse than the real thing. Sometimes, not this time.

And they should air, they shouldn’t stop airing. This is what happened and this is what people need to see and hear and this is exactly why we are here.

Warn them, provide them with a heads up that they’re not going to like what happens next. It’s life and we show life, and we show what some of us do with it when it’s someone else’s.

Overall, I would say the news platforms held their composure, even after the videos were released. I saw, read, and heard some refreshingly neutral coverage, even from outlets where I expected hard turns into the lanes on either side of the road.

Legitimate questions were asked by anchors and reporters and much of the time, the off-balance issues were raised more by those on the sidewalks and those on the other side of the cameras and microphones.

As much as I find myself in disagreement with what I often see on the cable networks — all the cable networks — I did find a sense of symmetry watching CNN’s Don Lemon speak with Memphis City Council Chair Martavius Jones in the hours after the videos were released.

Regular protocols be damned, Lemon and producers lingered patiently as Jones, visibly overcome by emotion, struggled to regain breath and composure enough to be able to speak. Rather than cut away or move to other elements, they stood fast and it became an example of what often requires no words.

There were fewer punches pulled on other platforms as well.

The sounds of the screams, the impacts, and the hate-filled commands were broadcast through car radios.

As were Tyre Nichol’s calls for his mom. They aired. They had to.

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BNM Writers

Does the Republican Establishment Get It?

For many it seemed that the Republican establishment stood idly by as Democrats changed the rules and worked behind the scenes to alter elections.

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In a move that seemed to go against the wishes of the patriotic American grassroots, the Republican party on Friday re-elected RNC Chairperson Ronna McDaniel. 

The media immediately took notice, as many on television and radio are now wondering why the party would re-elect a chairperson who has been so unpopular with the base of its party. 

Grant Stinchfield discussed this issue Friday night on his program, Stinchfield Tonight, which airs on Real America’s Voice network.

“Ronna McDaniel holds on to her chairmanship of the Republican Party. By a whopping total of — what were the numbers– 111 to 54. Harmeet Dhillon only received 54 votes. Mike Lindell 4 votes. This is proof to me that the Republican establishment is dug in,” Stinchfield — formerly of Newsmax — said. “Don’t tell me they’re out of touch. See, you tell me they’re out of touch, that implies ignorance. They’re not ignorant about anything.”

As sentiment for Dhillon grew in the days leading up to Friday’s vote, many influential politicians and party donors publicly offered her their support and endorsement. These included Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL), as well as donors Mike Rydin, Dick Uihlein, and Bernie Marcus.

Also on board were musician and outspoken conservative John Rich, along with the state GOP of Nebraska and Washington State. Countless journalists and media personalities, such as Charlie Kirk, Miranda Divine, and Lou Dobbs, also came out publicly in support of Dhillon. Former President Donald Trump remained neutral, not making a public choice of either of the three candidates.

For many of Dhillon’s supporters, the deciding factor was public sentiment across the party’s base.

“They’re reading the same chat boards. They’re getting the same emails I’m reading. I will literally post something about this race when I was supporting Harmeet Dhillon. There was not one comment – not one – that supported Ronna McDaniel. Everyone wanted change,” Stinchfield said, noting that the party elite saw the same groundswell of support for change.

“Now, nobody has an issue as Ronna McDaniel is some evil kind of person. I don’t believe she is. I believe, though, that she is part of the establishment. She’s been around too long as far as the establishment goes. And she’s been ingrained in doing business as usual. It’s not working.”

In making their choices known, many Dhillon supporters simply pointed to the scoreboard during McDaniel’s reign.

“Think about where we are. 2018, we lost the House. 2020, we lost everything. 2022, we won the House, but we should have really steamrolled the House and we should have taken back the Senate, which we didn’t do,” Stinchfield said. “That means we’re on a real losing track since she took over. I don’t like being on a losing track. I like being on a winning track.

“Something has got to change when you talk about all of this. So how does Ronna McDaniel get 111 votes and Harmeet Dhillon only get 54 votes, when everyone, every Republican voter I talk to said it was time for change?” pondered Stinchfield.

And even more than the losses, for many it seemed that the Republican establishment stood idly by as Democrats changed the rules and worked behind the scenes to alter elections. The most recent example of which came in Arizona, where presumptive gubernatorial favorite, Kari Lake, was “defeated” when countless voting irregularities occurred in some of the state’s most deep-red areas.

“Under her watch, Democrats instituted a mail-in ballot scheme. That may be even worse than losing, when you talk about the House and the Senate and all these things. The fact that we now have a junk mail-in ballot scheme across the country under Ronna McDaniel’s watch is serious trouble. Very serious trouble,” Stinchfield said on Friday. “And so the reason it is is because the Democrats are rigging the system.”

For years – until Donald Trump descended the golden escalator and took the world by storm – the Republican party had the reputation of being the party of the rich. Rush Limbaugh used to refer to this wing of Republicans as “the country club crowd.” President Donald Trump flipped the narrative completely, offering a clear vision of hope and patriotism to working-class America.

Reputable polling — such as Richard Baris’ Big Data Poll — consistently showed Trump running well ahead of almost every Republican candidate during the 2022 mid-term election cycle. In other words, Trump still maintains considerably more support across the country than most of the individual Senate or House candidates experienced.

Many experts believe this is because voters still view Trump as an outsider, while they view the Republican party much less favorably.

“Let’s tell you how out of touch they are, how elitist they are,” Stinchfield said, calling out the GOP establishment. “This meeting that went on, do you know where it is? It’s at the Waldorf Astoria Monarch in California. One of the most expensive resorts in America. You’re lucky if you get a room for a thousand dollars a night down there on Dana Point. Now, it’s a beautiful hotel, but why is the Republican Party holding an event there? Then I went back and I looked at what RedState did. RedState went back and looked at some of the expenses that the Republican Party under Ronna McDaniel’s leadership was spending money on.

“Take a look at this. $3.1 million on private jets. $1.3 million on limousine and chauffeur services. $17.1 million on donor mementos. $750,000 on floral arrangements. Now you compare this to the Democrats. The Democrats spent $35,000 on private airfare. A thousand dollars on floral arrangements. A thousand. Not $750,000. A thousand. And the $17.1 million they spent on donor mementos, the Democrats spent $1.5 million.

“Democrats know where to put the money. It’s not giving donors gifts. Donors shouldn’t want gifts. If you give money, give money. You don’t need the fancy pin to put on your lapel.”

Following her loss, Dhillon warned her party that it must listen to the base, saying, “if we ignore this message, I think it’s at our peril. It’s at our peril personally, as party leaders and it’s at our peril for our party in general.”

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