RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel in Talks to Leave Role, Decision Delayed

NEW YORKRonna McDaniel, the Chair of the Republican National Committee (RNC), has engaged in discussions with former President Donald Trump about potentially stepping down from her position. However, both parties have agreed to postpone any decision until after the South Carolina primary on Feb. 24, as per sources familiar with the matter.

While McDaniel has not yet made a formal decision regarding her resignation, there is mounting pressure on her due to ongoing criticism from a faction within the party. This pressure intensified after Trump questioned whether she should continue in her role.

During a private and amicable meeting held in Florida on Monday, Trump and McDaniel explored various possibilities for leadership changes within the RNC, including the prospect of McDaniel stepping down.

However, final decisions will only be made following the South Carolina primary, a significant contest for Trump as he aims to establish his dominance over his last major rival, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, who hails from the state and previously served as its governor.

RNC spokesperson Keith Schipper stated, “Nothing has changed. This will be decided after South Carolina.”

Current discussions regarding a potential successor focus on Michael Whatley, who has served as the North Carolina GOP chair since 2019. Additionally, Whatley holds the position of general counsel to the RNC.

Whatley, a staunch supporter of Trump’s “stop the steal” campaign, vied for the co-chair position within the RNC last year with Trump’s endorsement. However, he faced significant setbacks and ultimately withdrew from the race for the party’s second-highest-ranking role.

McDaniel has encountered strong opposition from prominent figures on the far-right who primarily attribute the GOP’s political struggles since Trump’s election in 2016 to her leadership. Despite this, Trump publicly and privately supported McDaniel, who is the niece of Utah Senator Mitt Romney. In 2017, Trump initially appointed her to lead the committee.

McDaniel’s Role in the Republican Party

Kicking off her fourth two-year term, McDaniel finds herself at the center of the Republican Party’s operations. As the chairperson, her primary task is to oversee the widespread infrastructure that aims to secure a Republican presidency, all while acting as the party’s primary fundraiser.

With resounding victories in the initial two primary contests, Trump is well on his way to securing a third consecutive presidential nomination. Throughout the past seven years, McDaniel has managed to maintain her position within Trump’s circle by directly addressing challenging matters, albeit always in private. This past week, tensions between the GOP establishment and the leaders of Trump’s “Make America Great Again” movement prompted a private meeting between Trump and McDaniel at his Florida estate.

During an interview aired last Sunday morning, Trump hinted at potential changes in McDaniel’s role. While acknowledging her success in running Michigan for him, he suggested that adjustments may be necessary at the RNC.

Despite facing internal rifts within her own party during her campaign for re-election just one year ago, McDaniel emerged victorious. However, these divisions within the MAGA movement have only grown stronger as Trump’s hold on the Republican nomination for 2024 tightens.

Notably, McDaniel has faced criticism from influential figures within conservative circles, including former Trump advisor Steve Bannon and Charlie Kirk, the leader of Turning Point USA. Critics have latched onto recent campaign finance disclosures that reveal the RNC is left with only $8 million in reserves and $1 million in debt.

Steve Scheffler, an RNC member from Iowa, offered some support for McDaniel, commending her performance considering the RNC’s mission. He also noted that during competitive primaries, national party fundraising often lags behind individual campaign spending.

Ultimately, McDaniel’s future role will be determined by Trump himself. Regardless of his decision, Scheffler and others like him are prepared to support it.

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