Was the 2020 election stolen? Job interviews at RNC take an unusual turn.


Those seeking employment at the Republican National Committee after a Donald Trump-backed purge of the committee this month have been asked in job interviews if they believe the 2020 election was stolen, according to people familiar with the interviews, making the false claim a litmus test of sorts for hiring.

In recent days, Trump advisers have quizzed multiple employees who had worked in key 2024 states — and who are reapplying for jobs — about their views on the last presidential election, according to people who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe private interviews and discussions. The interviews have been conducted mostly virtually, as the applicants are based in key swing states.

“Was the 2020 election stolen?” one prospective employee recalled being asked in a room with two top Trump advisers.

The query about the 2020 election startled some of the potential employees, who viewed it as questioning their loyalty to Trump and as an unusual job interview question, according to the people familiar with the interviews. A group of senior Trump advisers has been in the RNC building in recent days conducting the interviews.

The questions about the 2020 election were open-ended, two people familiar with the questioning said.

“But if you say the election wasn’t stolen, do you really think you’re going to get hired?” one former RNC employee asked.

“Candidates who worked on the front line in battleground states or are currently in states where fraud allegations have been prevalent were asked about their work experience,” RNC and Trump spokeswoman Danielle Alvarez said in a statement Tuesday. “We want experienced staff with meaningful views on how elections are won and lost and real experience-based opinions about what happens in the trenches.”

President Biden’s reelection campaign on Wednesday sharply criticized the RNC’s practice of asking prospective employees whether the 2020 election was stolen.

“In Donald Trump’s America, elections are only fair when he wins and nothing is off the table to stay in power — including violence like on January 6th and being a dictator on day one,” Biden spokesperson Ammar Moussa said in a statement. “And, now, Donald Trump is demanding fealty to his extreme, anti-democratic beliefs to be part of his Republican Party.”

RNC staffers were told en masse in early March that they were being let go but could reapply for jobs, and the application process has included an interview with the Trump advisers. Those advisers this week are vetting former employees and some laid-off employees — whose last day is Friday — to decide how many can either return or stay with the RNC.

Doug Heye, a longtime GOP strategist who worked as communications director at the RNC, said the party had long expected staffers to mimic the positions of its presidential candidates. “You’re there for that specific reason,” he said, “to back the candidate up and go along with the worldview.”

But nominees other than Trump wouldn’t make such outlandish claims, he said, or put employees in such an uncomfortable spot.

“The problem with Trumpism is that despite bringing in very smart and very capable people, if you want to play Trump’s game, you have to back him up on everything he says. Claims about the election being stolen is kind of the last frontier of that,” Heye said.

Other questions have included what applicants believe should be done on “election integrity” in 2024, along with basic questions about their job responsibilities, their previous employers and their opinions on how things are going at the RNC.

Instead of having employees based in Washington, Trump advisers have told prospective employees that many will be expected to move to Palm Beach, Fla., to be near Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club, hollowing out the RNC headquarters. RNC officials have said it is about combining the operations of the campaign and the committee for maximum use ahead of the general election.

The hiring process came after Trump grew disillusioned with the leadership of RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, who then stepped down in early March. One of his main gripes was that the RNC had not done enough to focus on “election integrity” or to boost his claims that the 2020 election was stolen. McDaniel, for her part, faced a widespread revolt this week at NBC News, where she was hired as a contributor, over her past comments questioning the validity of the election; NBC announced Tuesday that it was reversing its decision.

Trump installed Michael Whatley, a loyalist from North Carolina, as the chairman of the party, along with daughter-in-law Lara Trump as co-chair.

Trump has falsely maintained since 2020 that the election was stolen and has often endorsed candidates based on agreement with that belief. He is facing charges in federal court in Washington over his efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

Some Trump advisers have urged him for years to stop talking about the election, but he has largely resisted those entreaties.

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