Trump endorses daughter-in-law Lara Trump for RNC leadership
Former US President Donald Trump has thrown his support behind his daughter-in-law for the position of chairperson of the Republican National Committee (RNC).
Mr. Trump expressed his backing for Lara Trump and Michael Whatley, who chairs North Carolina’s Republican party.
His endorsement on Monday reflects his reported dissatisfaction with the current leadership of the RNC.
The committee would undergo a vote for new leadership if its current chair, Ronna McDaniel, decides to step down.
According to US media reports, McDaniel might resign from her position following the South Carolina Republican primary, set for February 24th.
The RNC’s primary focus is fundraising for the party and mobilizing Republican voters.
As the leading contender for the Republican Party in the upcoming election, Mr. Trump’s endorsement is expected to carry weight among RNC members.
In a statement issued on Monday evening, Mr. Trump commended Mr. Whatley, who currently serves as the committee’s general counsel, for his outstanding performance in North Carolina and endorsed him for the position of RNC chair.
He also lauded Mr. Whatley’s commitment to “election integrity”. Mr Whatley has previously championed the former president’s baseless allegations of election fraud in the 2020 election.
For the role of RNC co-chair, Mr Trump said he endorses his “very talented” daughter-in-law Lara Trump, who is married to his son Eric.
“Lara is an extremely talented communicator and is dedicated to all that MAGA stands for,” Mr Trump said.
Ms. Trump has worked closely with the RNC in the past and is seen as an effective fundraiser by the committee.
Party rules mandate that there be one male and one female at the helm of the RNC.
The former president said he has also asked Chris LaCivita, the co-manager of his current presidential campaign, to take on the role of RNC’s chief operating officer.
Politico reported that should Mr. Lacivita assume the role, he will still maintain his position as Mr. Trump’s co-campaign manager.
If Mr Trump’s endorsements were to go ahead, it would mean his campaign would be aligned closely with the committee and its operations.
But his stamp of approval has not always been effective. Mr Whaley failed in his 2023 bid for co-chair despite a previous endorsement by Mr Trump.
The push for a change in leadership comes after disagreements between Mr Trump and Ms McDaniel, the current RNC chair, over the Republican primary debates ahead of this year’s election. The former president has refused to participate in any of them.
The Washington Post previously reported that Mr Trump pushed Ms McDaniel to cancel the debates altogether, but she refused.
She has also faced pressure over the party’s poor performance in recent elections and for lackluster fundraising.
She was expected to serve in her role until 2025, but news of her possible resignation emerged after she met with Mr Trump in Mar-a-Lago last week.
At that meeting, Ms McDaniel told Mr Trump that she will do whatever is best for the party, including stepping down.
When the conservative Newsmax network asked Mr. Trump last week if Ms. McDaniel should resign, he replied: “I think she knows that I think she understands that.”