Trump Pushes for Michael Whatley to Oust Ronna McDaniel

( – In 2017, Ronna McDaniel became the chair of the Republican National Committee (RNC), upon former President Donald Trump’s (R) recommendation. The party chose her in three subsequent elections. But now that the GOP has consistently lost elections for several cycles, McDaniel could find herself out of a job, and some say Trump has his mind on someone else already.

What Happened?

On February 7, Fox News reported that the former president wanted a “change” in RNC leadership after the South Carolina primary on February 24. An unnamed source told the outlet that Trump recommended North Carolina Republican Chair Michael Whatley for the job. The former president reportedly wants Whatley in the position because he strongly believes the 2020 presidential election was stolen.

Whatley has a lengthy history in the GOP. He was a senior official in former President George W. Bush’s administration, chief of staff for former Senator Elizabeth Dole (R-NC), and held jobs related to the Bush-Cheney and Trump-Pence campaigns. He’s also been general counsel for the RNC and has been the NC Republican chair since 2019.

Despite the rumor and hints from Trump himself on Truth Social, Fox News reported that McDaniel is denying she’s going to step down after the SC primary. Even the RNC spokesperson Keith Schipper said everything in leadership at the RNC is the same while adding any changes would be “decided after South Carolina.”

The former president recently wrote on his social media platform that he will make a decision about “RNC Growth” right after the primary in SC while mentioning McDaniel as the current head of the committee. Although he has no power to unilaterally make a change in RNC leadership, the former president can make a recommendation on who he wants to chair the group.


According to Fox News, McDaniel recently wrote a letter to RNC members addressing the talk about her departure. She said the news was “full of palace intrigue and speculation,” but she wanted to make it clear that she was “still hard at work” in her position to get Republicans elected in November “up and down the ballot.” McDaniel reportedly mentioned priorities for the GOP, which included keeping former Representative George Santos’ (R-NY) seat in the House and fundraising.

The chair defended the work she’s been doing in the RNC and said she will not let “rumors” distract her. Whatley has not publicly addressed the possibility of heading up the RNC, but NC Republican Party Vice Chair Susan Mills told The Carolina Journal if the rumors are true, she “fully endorse[s]” him for the job.

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