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Trump proposes overhaul of RNC leadership, advocates for daughter-in-law’s appointment

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Former President Donald Trump has ignited controversy within the Republican National Committee (RNC) by advocating for a significant shake-up in leadership, a move that includes appointing his daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, as co-chair. Trump’s push for this change comes amid his bid to solidify control over the GOP’s political apparatus well before any formal nomination for the next presidential race.

While the current RNC Chair, Ronna McDaniel, has asserted her intention to remain in her position until after South Carolina’s Feb. 24 primary, Trump is advocating for her replacement with Michael Whatley, the chair of the North Carolina GOP. Additionally, he is proposing Lara Trump as co-chair, signaling a concerted effort to shape the party’s direction in line with his own objectives.

Trump’s urgency in this matter, evidenced by his call for McDaniel’s swift replacement, underscores his desire to rally Republican support behind him, particularly in anticipation of a potential rematch against President Joe Biden. Despite not yet amassing adequate delegates for the nomination, Trump is eyeing a decisive victory in South Carolina, aiming to outpace his last significant primary challenger, Nikki Haley.

Central to Trump’s demands is his persistent assertion of voter fraud during the 2020 election, despite refutations by his own administration, the Justice Department, and multiple courts. Trump insists that the RNC prioritize efforts to prevent voter fraud, a stance echoed by his endorsement of Whatley, whom he lauds as committed to ensuring election integrity.

However, McDaniel, through an RNC spokesperson, reaffirmed her commitment to her current role, emphasizing her ongoing efforts to support Republican candidates nationwide. Meanwhile, Haley cautioned against acquiescing to Trump’s demands, linking his involvement with the RNC’s challenges and criticizing broader GOP shortcomings.

The potential restructuring of RNC leadership carries implications for both the committee and Trump’s campaign. It could alleviate fundraising difficulties faced by the RNC, particularly following Trump’s attempt to restrict its use of his name and image for fundraising. Moreover, it may facilitate access to donors hesitant to contribute directly to Trump’s campaign or affiliated political action committees.

Nonetheless, Trump’s desired leadership changes hinge on an in-person vote by the Republican National Committee, anticipated to occur later this spring. Under his proposed arrangement, Chris LaCivita, a senior adviser, would retain his role in Trump’s campaign while assuming responsibilities as the RNC’s chief operations officer, and Whatley would succeed McDaniel as chair. Lara Trump, in turn, would assume the position of co-chair, if Trump’s plans come to fruition.

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