In a recent statement, former President Donald Trump publicly endorsed Michael Whatley for the position of Republican National Committee (RNC) chair and his daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, for co-chair. Trump highlighted Whatley’s dedication to “election integrity,” a nod to Whatley’s support for Trump’s unproven claims of voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election.
Additionally, Trump endorsed his senior adviser, Chris LaCivita, for the role of chief operating officer, praising the trio as “highly talented, battle-tested, and smart” with his “complete and total endorsement” to lead the RNC.
This development coincides with ongoing discussions between Trump and the current RNC chair, Ronna McDaniel, regarding the possibility of her resigning. Sources familiar with their conversations have indicated that these talks are taking place. However, the RNC issued a statement clarifying that Chairwoman McDaniel has no plans to step down or announce future decisions until after the South Carolina GOP primary on Feb. 24.
The spokesperson affirmed McDaniel’s commitment to working towards Republican victories and emphasized that there would be no decision or announcement before the South Carolina primary.
Trump’s endorsements also come against the backdrop of the RNC’s sluggish fundraising efforts leading up to the 2024 election cycle. As of January 2024, the RNC had $8 million in its coffers, significantly lagging behind its Democratic counterparts, who held $21 million. The fundraising gap is attributed in part to the Democratic National Committee’s advantage, facilitated by joint fundraising with President Joe Biden’s reelection campaign.
During the 2020 election cycle, the RNC and Trump campaign collaborated on a substantial joint fundraising operation, amassing over $1.6 billion. Currently, both entities raise funds independently. Trump’s endorsement of key allies for national party leadership suggests a potential move towards integrating campaign and RNC efforts, enabling joint fundraising.
This shift could also mean that the RNC might start covering Trump’s legal expenses, a practice observed during Trump’s presidency and post-presidency until he declared candidacy for the 2024 race.
In his endorsement announcement, Trump hinted at the prospect of joint fundraising, assuring that every penny would be utilized appropriately and signaling the dawn of a “New Day” for the party’s financial strategies.