Donald Trump is pushing for daughter-in-law Lara Trump and a top campaign aide to take over two prime spots with the financially struggling Republican National Committee before the November elections.
Trump, 77, endorsed North Carolina GOP Chair Michael Whatley to replace Ronna McDaniel as the party chair, Lara to serve as co-chair and senior campaign adviser Chris LaCivita to become the party’s chief operating officer.
“The RNC MUST be a good partner in the Presidential election,” Trump said Monday in a statement of the organization, which has been battered by lackluster fundraising numbers.
“It must do the work we expect from the national Party and do it flawlessly,” said the former president and current leading GOP 2024 presidential contender.
“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.”
All three of Trump’s picks would have to be ratified by the 168 members of the RNC.
Given Trump’s influence, they are expected to get the green light.
Earlier this month at his Mar-a-Lago estate, Trump met privately with McDaniel, the former chair of the Michigan GOP whom he backed to helm the RNC in 2017 — a role she has held ever since.
He has previously publicly indicated it was time for a leadership shakeup and had been rumored to be pushing for Whatley to take over the RNC after the South Carolina primary contest Feb. 24.
Trump seemingly decided to bump up that timeframe to make that plan public after those plans leaked to the press.
All of this comes amid the backdrop of a fundraising malaise for the RNC. Last year, the organization took in $87.2 million and finished off 2023 with roughly $8 million cash on hand, per the Federal Election Commission.
That marks some of its worst fundraising figures in about a decade. In fact, if adjusted for inflation, that would clock in as the RNC’s worst fundraising haul since 1993.
The Democrat National Committee, by contrast, raked in $119 million and concluded the year with around $21 million cash on hand, according to the FEC.
“You have to understand, I have nothing to do with the RNC, I’m separate,” Trump told Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures” earlier this month.
“I think she did great when she ran Michigan for me, I think she did OK initially in the RNC,” he said of McDaniel. “I would say right now there will probably be some changes made.”
In his endorsement of Whatley for the top RNC post, Trump described the North Carolina political player as a “friend” and underscored his commitment to “election integrity.”
Lara Trump had previously contemplated a run for North Carolina Senate but ultimately opted against it. Co-chair of the RNC is a paid position.
“Lara is an extremely talented communicator and is dedicated to all that MAGA stands for,” the former president said in a statement. “She has told me she wants to accept this challenge and would be GREAT!”
LaCivita has an extensive portfolio in Republican politics. He is expected to continue juggling his role in Trump’s presidential campaign if he wins the RNC role.
“Chris will manage the RNC’s day-to-day operations so it will become a fighting machine for 2024 and use all the tools available to win for the American people,” Trump said.
Trump’s pitch for an overhaul of the RNC’s leadership team comes roughly five months before the July 15-18 Republican National Convention in Milwaukee.
His last-standing major Republican presidential rival, former US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, quickly rolled out an alternative plan for the RNC’s leadership.
“Nikki Haley’s plan for the RNC? Blow it all up,” Haley campaign manager Betsy Ankney said in a statement late Monday.
“Everyone at the RNC will be fired, there will be a full and complete audit of the gross misuse of funds and there will be a formal application process to become RNC chair based on MERIT, not on back scratching.”
Ankney also knocked Trump for “rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic” with his plan and pointed out that under “Trump and current RNC leadership, Republicans lost elections in 2018, 2020, and 2022.”
Trump has won every GOP 2024 presidential contest by a wide margin so far and has 63 delegates to Haley’s 17. He is the overwhelming favorite to win the nod to be the party standard bearer.