Feb 12, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Trump endorses triumvirate of loyalists to take over RNC

Republican presidential candidate and former President Donald Trump speaks during a Get Out The Vote rally at Coastal Carolina University on February 10, 2024 in Conway, South Carolina.

Former President Trump speaks during a rally at Coastal Carolina University on Feb. 10 in Conway, South Carolina. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Former President Trump on Monday endorsed Michael Whatley, chair of the North Carolina GOP, to become the next leader of the Republican National Committee if the current chairwoman Ronna McDaniel steps down.

Why it matters: Trump for weeks has been ramping up his public criticisms of McDaniel, after the committee posted its worst fundraising year in almost a decade in 2023.

  • Trump endorsed his daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, to serve as co-chair.
  • Trump also endorsed his campaign senior adviser, Chris LaCivita, to effectively serve as COO.
  • If approved, the trio of endorsements would bring Trump allies to the highest positions in RNC leadership, giving him broad control over the committee as he appears heading towards a general election.

Zoom in: Whatley, who, along with Lara Trump would have to be voted on by the members of the RNC, has supported Trump's false claims of election fraud during the 2020 presidential election, according to the New York Times.

  • "The RNC MUST be a good partner in the Presidential election. It must do the work we expect from the national Party and do it flawlessly," Trump said in a statement.
  • "This group of three is highly talented, battle-tested, and smart. They have my complete and total endorsement to lead the Republican National Committee."
  • "Every penny will be used properly. New Day," he said.

The big picture: The RNC raised $87.2 million in 2023 and entered 2024 with just $8 million in cash, according to FEC filings.

  • Trump on his social media platform Truth Social earlier this month signaled that he supported changes at the RNC, and that he would push for them following the Feb. 24 South Carolina primary.

A spokesperson for the RNC said in a statement on Monday that "nothing has changed, and there will be no decision or announcement about future plans until after South Carolina."

  • "Chairwoman McDaniel has been on the road helping elect Republicans up and down the ballot and she will continue working hard to beat Biden this fall," Keith Schipper said.

The New York Times first reported on Trump's endorsement plans.

Go deeper: Trump floats ousting RNC chair after brutal 2023

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