Trump backs North Carolina Republican as RNC chair, daughter-in-law as co-chair

By Thomson Reuters Feb 12, 2024 | 7:36 PM

By Kanishka Singh and Nathan Layne

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -Donald Trump has endorsed North Carolina Republican Party Chair Michael Whatley as the next chair of the Republican National Committee (RNC) and backed his own daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, as its co-chairwoman, the former U.S. president said on Monday.

An RNC member told Reuters last week that Ronna McDaniel, the chair of the Republican National Committee, was considering stepping down from her position after this month’s South Carolina primary amid pressure from Donald Trump.

The potential shakeup comes as the former U.S. president, who is the frontrunner for the party’s presidential nomination, indicates he wants to make changes to the organization as he prepares for a likely rematch with President Joe Biden, a Democrat, in November.

“I think my friend Michael Whatley should be the RNC’s next leader. Michael has been with me from the beginning, has done a great job in his home state of North Carolina,” the former president said in a statement on Monday.

“My very talented daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, has agreed to run as the RNC Co-Chair. … She has told me she wants to accept this challenge and would be GREAT,” he added.

McDaniel will continue working hard to beat Biden this fall, an RNC spokesperson said on Monday after Trump’s statement, adding: “Nothing has changed, and there will be no decision or announcement about future plans until after South Carolina.”

Whoever replaces McDaniel will face the challenge of unifying a fractured party with just nine months to go before the 2024 election. The RNC plays a critical role in raising money for the nominee, promoting the party’s message, marshalling resources and turning out voters.

Trump has suggested for days that he thought the RNC needed some reshuffling at the top.

(Reporting by Kanishka Singh and Nathan Layne; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)