"In for a rude awakening": McDaniel announces resignation as cash-strapped Trump eyes RNC takeover

Donald Trump; Ronna McDaniel MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images
Donald Trump; Ronna McDaniel MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images
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Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel will officially be vacating her post on March 8, paving the way for Donald Trump to handpick a new leader.

“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 told the New York Times. “The R.N.C. has historically undergone change once we have a nominee, and it has always been my intention to honor that tradition. I remain committed to winning back the White House and electing Republicans up and down the ballot in November.” As The Times noted, McDaniel was the first woman to helm the R.N.C. in more than 40 years, assuming the position in 2017 after a stint as chairwoman of the GOP in Michigan.

The former president has publicly endorsed Michael Whatley, the R.N.C.'s general counsel and a proponent of his fraudulent election claims, to serve in McDaniel's stead. Trump has also backed his daughter-in-law and wife of his son Eric, Lara Trump, to be the organization's next co-chair.

“The RNC MUST be a good partner in the presidential election,” Trump said in a previous statement, according to the Times. “It must do the work we expect from the national Party and do it flawlessly. That means helping to ensure fair and transparent elections across the country. Lara is an extremely talented communicator and is dedicated to all that MAGA stands for. She has told me she wants to accept this challenge and would be GREAT!”

Lara Trump, during an appearance on conservative network Newsmax earlier this month, pledged to use "every single penny" of R.N.C. funds to see her father-in-law back in the White House if elected to the co-chair role. She also made a separate claim that it is of "big interest" to Republican voters to use R.N.C. finances to cover Trump's mounting legal fees related to his numerous civil and criminal cases, as noted by Reuters.

Betsy Ankney, a top aide for Nikki Haley — the former governor of South Carolina who is challenging Trump's bid at the GOP presidential nomination — slammed the remark, saying, "I think it's pretty telling that Lara Trump said that the one and only focus of the R.N.C. is Donald J. Trump and has said that there is an appetite among Republican voters to pay his legal bills. I think that they're in for a rude awakening." Ankey continued: “I think that a lot of people do not want the R.N.C. to be paying Trump's legal bills. And I think that a lot of the $5, $10 and $25 donors to his political operation would feel differently about that. So we're focused on the fight ahead."