Former President Donald Trump on Monday announced his recommendations for changes within the Republican National Committee, proposing leadership positions for North Carolina Republican Party Chairman Michael Whatley, his daughter-in-law Lara Trump, and senior campaign adviser Chris Lacivita.
Last week, Trump recommended Whatley to replace Ronna McDaniel, the longtime chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, following the GOP presidential primary in South Carolina this month.
A source familiar with the change told Fox News Digital at the time that Trump was pushing for Whatley to replace McDaniel because he was “very strong on election fraud” in 2020.
Trump formally announced Monday that he believes Whatley should be the next leader of the Republican National Committee.
“Michael has been with me since the beginning, has done an amazing job in his home state of North Carolina, and is committed to election integrity, which is what we need to keep out of our elections, so they can’t be stolen.” Trump said.
Trump Recommends North Carolina GOP Chair Whatley to Replace McDaniel at RNC: Source
Whatley has served as Chairman of the North Carolina Republican Party since 2019. Whatley also serves as General Counsel for the Republican National Committee.
Prior to his work with the Republican Party, Whatley served as a federal law clerk, a senior official in the administration of President George W. Bush and chief of staff to former Sen. Elizabeth Dole, R-S.C. Whatley also served as a senior advisor to the Bush-Cheney campaign, Florida recount and transition teams, as well as the Trump-Pence campaign and transition teams.
Along with seeking to catapult Whatley to the committee’s top leadership position, Trump announced plans to nominate his daughter-in-law Lara Trump as co-chair of the Republican National Committee.
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“Lara is an extremely talented communicator and committed to everything MAGA stands for,” the former president said. “She told me she wanted to take on this challenge and it would be great!”
The third position Trump hopes to have influence on within the committee is chief operating officer. He would like to see veteran Republican strategist Chris Lacivita, a senior adviser to Trump’s 2024 campaign, in that role.
“Chris will run the day-to-day operations of the Republican National Committee, so it will be a 2024 fighting machine and use every tool at our disposal to win for the American people,” Trump said.
Trump meets with Ronna McDaniel — then calls for changes at the Republican National Committee
The former president also said the three individuals are “extremely talented, battle-tested, and intelligent,” adding that they have his “full and complete endorsement” to lead the Republican National Committee.
As Trump seeks to regain his old job in the White House, he said Monday how important it is for the Republican National Committee to be a good partner during the election.
“That means helping to ensure fair and transparent elections across the country, spreading the vote everywhere — even in parts of the country where it won’t be easy — and working with my campaign, as the presumptive Republican nominee for president, to win this election and make America great.” once again”.
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Last week, Trump met with McDaniel at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, and after the meeting, he posted on his Truth Social platform that McDaniel was a “friend” but would push for changes at the Republican National Committee after the election. Presidential primaries in South Carolina.
The former president pointed to McDaniel’s previous tenure as chairman of the Michigan Republican Party.
“I think she did a good job initially at the Republican National Committee. I would say now that some changes will probably need to be made,” he added.
McDaniel was nominated by Trump shortly after he won the 2016 presidential election, and won re-election in 2019, 2021 and January of last year.
While she ended up easily winning her final re-election, she faced a vocal faction of far-right critics who saw her as too close to the establishment wing of the party.
She has also come under a lot of criticism in recent months over the GOP’s finances.
She is sounding the alarm about party fundraising ahead of the general election. The Republican National Committee finished 2023 with just $8 million in cash, less than half of what the Democratic National Committee has.
But as Fox News Digital was first to report, the Republican National Committee raised $12 million in January, the best monthly fundraising amount of the 2024 election cycle.
Trump, the front-runner to win the Republican nomination as he seeks to reach the White House for the third time in a row, was angry with McDaniel and the Republican National Committee in recent months for holding Republican presidential primary debates, which he skipped.
When she won re-election last year, McDaniel said in an interview with Fox News that it would be her last two-year term leading the DNC.
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If McDaniel resigns, her replacement would need approval from the 168 members of the Republican National Committee.
McDaniel addressed that speculation last week in a letter to members of the Republican National Committee, reassuring them that she was still working hard as GOP chair, “building a machine that will elect Republicans up and down the ballot in November.”
But an RNC panelist who requested to remain anonymous told Fox News Digital. “If Trump continues to win the primary, most of the 168 members will follow in his footsteps whether he chooses Whatley or someone else. He will probably face stiff opposition from outside the committee, but not from within.”
The February 24 South Carolina primary is the next major contest on the GOP presidential nominating calendar, and polls show Trump with a wide lead in the primary over his last major rival — former South Carolina governor and former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley. .
“Trump just announced that he will rearrange the seating on the Titanic,” said Betsy Ankeny, Haley’s presidential campaign manager. “Under Donald Trump and the current leadership of the Republican Party, Republicans lost elections in 2018, 2020 and 2022, and now the Republican National Committee is effectively bankrupt.” a permit. “Nikki Haley’s plan for the Republican National Committee? Blow up everything.”
Fox News’ Brooke Singman contributed to this report.