Feb 4, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Trump floats ousting RNC chair after brutal 2023


Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Former President Trump, in a stunning public rebuke of a longtime ally, suggested on Fox News today that Republican National Committee chair Ronna McDaniel should get the boot.

Why it matters: The RNC reported this week that it had its worst fundraising year in almost a decade last year — entering 2024 with just $8 million in cash. Trump's comments are a sign of him flexing muscle as the de facto head of the GOP, even though the soonest he could clinch the nomination is March.

  • The comments also reflect growing friction between Trump and the RNC, even as McDaniel has faced criticism for publicly trying to push Nikki Haley out of the race to consolidate around Trump.
  • A shakeup at the RNC would be extraordinary just five months before the Republican National Convention.

Driving the news: Trump distanced himself from McDaniel on Fox News' "Sunday Morning Futures."

  • "You have to understand, I have nothing to do with the RNC, I'm separate," Trump told host Maria Bartiromo.
  • "I think she did great when she ran Michigan for me, I think she did OK initially in the RNC. I would say right now there will probably be some changes made," Trump said when asked about McDaniel.
Data: FEC; Chart: Axios Visuals

Zoom in: The RNC raised $87.2 million in 2023 and ended the year with $8 million left in the bank, according to its year-end FEC filing.

  • The DNC raised $119 million in 2023 and ended the year with $21 million in cash on hand, according to their FEC filing.
  • The Democratic Party and three affiliated fundraising committees entered 2024 with over $117 million on hand.

State of play: The DNC and Biden have built up a large money lead by leveraging the benefits of incumbency and hosting joint fundraisers with Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.

  • Some RNC members tried last month to declare Trump the party's nominee with Haley still in the race, which would have given him full access to the committee's data apparatus and fundraising.
  • Before Biden was the nominee during the 2020 cycle, the RNC and Trump amassed a huge fundraising advantage over the DNC.

Zoom out: If Trump clinches the GOP nomination soon, the 2024 election could be the longest and most expensive election cycle in history.

  • That's after a 2020 campaign in which each side spent more than $1 billion among the campaigns and allied committees.
  • The RNC got a boost in January 2024, reportedly raising $12 million.
  • "The RNC is not only raising the necessary funds, but we're making strategic investments early in battlegrounds to win up and down the ballot this fall," RNC spokesperson Anna Kelly said.
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