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1-on-1 with Chuck Todd: RNC Chair's re-election and sending US tanks to Ukraine

Political Reporter Charles Benson talked with NBC's Chuck Todd about this week's big stories.
Posted at 9:13 AM, Jan 30, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-30 10:13:41-05

Who will lead the Republican Party and why is the Biden administration now sending American tanks to Ukraine?

Reporter Charles Benson talked with NBC's Chuck Todd about this week's big stories.

On Friday, Republicans re-elected Ronna McDaniel to lead the party - including next summer when Republicans gather in Milwaukee to nominate their candidate for president.

Some had called for new leadership and were backing challenger Harmeet Dhillon.

What signal does McDaniel's renewed leadership send? The decision comes after Republicans had expected better election results in 2022.

"It is fascinating that all the leaders that were there at the start of 2022 are now there at the end. Kevin McCarthy with the House Republican, Mitch McConnell, with the Senate Republicans, Ronna McDaniel with the RNC," said Todd.

"I think the question now: Is the Trump establishment strong enough to withstand any challenges to it? I think it does signal that Donald Trump is probably more of a front-runner than many Republicans want to admit when it comes to 2024," Todd said.

February will mark one year since the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The Biden administration reversed course and decided to send American tanks: Why the change?

"Well, the only reason the US sent the tanks, the Abrams tanks was to give cover to the Germans for the tanks that I think are going to be more useful," said Todd. "At least in my conversations with military leaders, much more useful to Ukraine for this spring offensive."

Todd says the decision to send 31 Abrams tanks could reflect a "growing confidence that the Ukrainian military - with the ability to stand up some new tank divisions - can actually push the Russians off or out of the eastern part of their country."

If that happens Todd said that may "lead to the start of negotiations to figure out how to end this war. I think that's what the US believes and that's the sales pitch that was made to NATO."

You can watch Chuck Todd on Meet the Press at 8 a.m. Sundays on NBC 26.