Donald Trump Just Ousted One of His Biggest Supporters From the RNC

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Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel announced Monday that she will step down on March 8, ending a months-long standoff with Donald Trump over his demands for total loyalty.

“I have decided to step aside at our Spring Training on March 8 in Houston to allow our nominee to select a Chair of their choosing,” McDaniel said in a statement.

Her co-chair Drew McKissick also announced his resignation on Monday.

McDaniel was elected RNC chair in 2017, at first with Trump’s support—though the former president first insisted she drop her maiden name (Romney) to win his support and show loyalty. She was reelected four times—helping to transform the party into the mirror of Trump that it is now—but the GOP has soured on her over the past year. McDaniel was failing at the two main parts of her job: fundraising and winning elections—thanks in large part to her embrace of Donald Trump.

By the end of October, the RNC had a little more than $9.1 million in its coffers, the smallest amount in nearly a decade. But McDaniel insisted there was “nothing unusual” about the low funds.

Republicans also suffered wave after wave of bruising losses, from the 2022 midterm elections to, most recently, the special election for former representative and serial fabulist George Santos’s seat in New York. The party has largely blamed McDaniel for the defeats, despite the fact that the failed candidates mostly embraced Trump’s policies and talking points.

Trump himself has withdrawn his favor from McDaniel, despite reportedly supporting her as recently as the hotly contested 2023 RNC chair election. The biggest point of contention was the fact that the RNC refused to crown Trump, by far the Republican primary frontrunner, as the party’s presidential nominee and instead opted for a contested primary.

The former president has grown increasingly frustrated over the past few months with McDaniel for continuing to host RNC-backed primary debates. It’s tradition for the party without a White House incumbent running to host debates, and canceling them would have tacitly declared Trump the nominee. Trump refused to participate in any of the three debates.

Another reported reason why Trump and his allies want McDaniel out is that they hope to replace her with a loyalist who will use RNC funds to pay his massive legal bills.

Trump announced Monday that he wants North Carolina Republican Party Chair Michael Whatley to take over from McDaniel, and he tapped his daughter-in-law Lara Trump for co-chair. Trump’s choices make it clear that he wants to stack the RNC with stooges. Whatley, who has helped state Republicans chip away at voting access and gerrymander district maps, is a major proponent of 2020 election fraud conspiracies.

Lara Trump said two weeks ago, before McDaniel even officially announced she would resign, that her goal was to turn the RNC entirely into a pro-Trump machine.

“If I am elected to this position, I can assure you there will not be any more $70,000—or whatever exorbitant amount of money it was—spent on flowers. Every single penny will go to the number one and the only job of the RNC. That is electing Donald J. Trump as president of the United States and saving this country,” she told Newsmax.