RNC Members Elect Michael Whatley, Trump Allies For Leadership Roles

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Reagan Reese White House Correspondent
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Members of the Republican National Committee (RNC) elected a replacement for former Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel after she stepped down Friday.

McDaniel previously announced that she would resign at the RNC’s March 8 convention following reports that she had met with former President Donald Trump and told him she would step down. The members voted to replace McDaniel with North Carolina party Chairman Michael Whatley. The party also elected Lara Trump, the former president’s daughter-in-law, and senior Trump adviser Chris LaCivita, who will run the committee’s operations, according to The Washington Post.

“Thank you to the 168 members of the RNC and President Trump for entrusting me to serve as RNC Chairman,” Whatley tweeted shortly after being elected. “We are already well on our way to making Joe Biden a one-term President, and I look forward to working with every Republican to deliver victories up and down the ballot!

McDaniel has been chairwoman of the RNC since 2017 and was previously backed by Trump before heading the party. In the last several months, McDaniel came under fire for several botched election cycles, dwindling funds and the party’s handling of its most recent debate cycle.

Former presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy publicly called for McDaniel’s resignation during a Republican presidential debate after blasting the party for selecting NBC News to host that night’s debate. Ramaswamy also characterized the Republican Party as losers under McDaniel’s leadership. (RELATED: ‘I’m Sure She’s A Nice Lady’: RNC Scrambles To Defense Of Ronna McDaniel After Viral Vivek Call-Out)

“Since Ronna McDaniel took over as chairwoman of the RNC in 2017, we have lost 2018, 2020, 2022 — no red wave … We got trounced last night in 2023. And I think that we have to have accountability in our party,” Ramaswamy said before adding that he would cede his time to McDaniel if she wanted to resign. (RELATED: The RNC Said This Time Would Be Different, Yet The First Two Debates Have Conservatives Frustrated And Disappointed)

 Former U.S. President Donald Trump arrives to deliver remarks to the Georgia state GOP convention at the Columbus Convention and Trade Center on June 10, 2023 in Columbus, Georgia. On Friday, former President Trump was indicted by a federal grand jury on 37 felony counts in Special Counsel Jack Smith’s classified documents probe. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Former U.S. President Donald Trump arrives to deliver remarks to the Georgia state GOP convention at the Columbus Convention and Trade Center on June 10, 2023 in Columbus, Georgia. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

McDaniel first told Trump that she planned to resign shortly after the South Carolina primary, sources told The New York Times (NYT). Following the reports, and then eventually McDaniel’s announcement, Trump endorsed Whatley for the chair position and Lara Trump and LaCivita for supporting roles.

@LaraLeaTrump and I are steadfast in our commitment to get out the vote, protect the ballot, and elect Donald J. Trump and Republicans from coast to coast this November,” Whatley tweeted.

McDaniel’s RNC co-chair and South Carolina party chairman Drew McKissick also resigned from his position following the reports of a leadership shake up.

“[I’m] willing to put self aside for the sake of building a team and focusing on winning is a big part of being successful. With that in mind, I’m submitting my resignation as Co-Chair, effective upon the election of my successor at the upcoming Spring Training in Houston,” McKissick wrote in a statement.

“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 previously said in a statement. “That means helping to ensure fair and transparent elections across the country, getting out the vote everywhere — even in parts of the country where it won’t be easy — and working with my campaign, as the Republican presumptive nominee for President, to win this election and MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”