To put it politely, RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel has not had the most successful chairmanship. That could be finally be catching up with her, as The New York Times reported on Tuesday night that she’s planning to step down after the South Carolina Republican Primary on February 24. The report cites “two people familiar with the plans.” The report also noted that “Ms. McDaniel had been considering leaving before the end of her term for some time, according to multiple people familiar with the matter.”
From there, former and potentially future President Donald Trump is looking to replace McDaniel with the chairman of the North Carolina Republican Party, Michael Whatley, although it may not be so simple.
As the report adds:
Mr. Trump is then likely to promote the chairman of the North Carolina Republican Party, Michael Whatley, as her replacement, according to several people familiar with the discussions. Under the arcana of the committee’s rules, however, Mr. Trump cannot simply install someone. A new election must take place, and Mr. Whatley could face internal party dissent.
Mr. Trump likes Mr. Whatley for one overwhelming reason, according to people who have discussed him with the former president: He is “a stop the steal guy,” as one of the people described him. He endorses Mr. Trump’s false claims about mass voter fraud and Mr. Trump believes he did a good job delivering North Carolina, a 2020 swing state, to him.
Mr. Whatley has baselessly claimed that election security efforts from Republicans in North Carolina stopped Democrats from cheating. He is also currently the general counsel at the Republican National Committee and has endorsed efforts to develop new voting laws.
A lobbying campaign against Mr. Whatley as Ms. McDaniel’s replacement has begun even before her departure was official, with some R.N.C. members saying another pick could be a smoother choice for Mr. Trump.
Although The New York Times report does not mention coverage from our sister site of RedState and its managing editor, Jennifer Van Laar, her exclusive coverage about RNC spending under McDaniel’s chairmanship was reportedly discussed during the RNC winter meeting held in Las Vegas last week.
“Sources within the meeting told RedState that McDaniel ‘ranted’ about RedState’s story and enlisted standing Budget Committee Chair Christine Toretti to send an email purporting to ‘debunk’ RedState’s reporting to the members of the 168 and members of the press,” Van Laar noted in her coverage from Tuesday night, which included links to all of her previous reporting about the RNC.
Van Laar also reported on Tuesday about the meeting Trump had with McDaniel at Mar-a-Lago and McDaniel’s Chief of Staff Mike Reed announcing that he would be stepping down at the end of the month.
🧵 Here we go. Memo sent by Christine Toretti, Chair of the RNC’s Standing Budget Committee, to the 168 members of the RNC regarding my story. It’s inaccurate and defamatory and I wasn’t going to share it but since others who aren’t in the 168 have shared parts of it, I am going… pic.twitter.com/d452Dzpgjh
— Jennifer Van Laar (@jenvanlaar) February 2, 2024
🧵 Timeline to Ronna McDaniel’s resignation … Here is the first in-depth analysis that RedState – and ONLY RedState – did on RNC finances, in December 2022.
EXCLUSIVE Analysis Shows RNC Spent Millions Spent on Private Jets, Limos, Luxury Retreats, Broadway Shows…
— Jennifer Van Laar (@jenvanlaar) February 7, 2024
McDaniel, who has had Trump’s backing before, has served as chairwoman since January 2017. Republicans then went on to lose the House in 2018, as well as the presidency and Senate in 2020. They just narrowly won back the House in 2022, and also failed to gain back the Senate. Republicans have seen a net loss of seven governorships as well.
Despite long-term concerns about McDaniel and a challenge from Harmeet Dhillon, McDaniel was once again chosen as the chair of the RNC at last year’s winter meeting.
The RNC did not respond to a request for comment from The New York Times, while Jason Miller, a senior adviser to Trump noted in a statement that “Any speculation beyond the president’s post on Truth is just that — speculation.”
Miller was likely referring to a TruthSocial post that Trump made on Monday evening that mentioned McDaniel and how Trump will “be making a decision the day after the South Carolina Primary as to my recommendations for RNC Growth.”