Trumpy RNC Leaders Ouster for Trumpier Ones

Just when you thought America couldn't get any greater.

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NBC News (“Trump campaign plans its takeover of the Republican National Committee“):

Former President Donald Trump’s campaign is quietly weighing options for how to reshuffle the Republican National Committee if, as expected, he becomes the GOP nominee — including options that both include and exclude the current chairwoman, Ronna McDaniel.

Two sources familiar with the planning, including a Trump adviser, told NBC News that Trump’s political organization is considering a plan that would essentially set up two separate organizations: It would leave McDaniel as chairwoman, but she would essentially be a sort of figurehead. Meanwhile staffers closely aligned with Trump would also be installed and have significant power over party operations.

Under the plan, two Trump-picked co-chairs would be put in place — one to oversee fundraising and the other to oversee party operations. One of the sources named former RNC Chairman Reince Preibus, former Trump administration official and major GOP donor Linda McMahon and casino magnate Steve Wynn, as possibilities to run the fundraising side, while both sources said the operational side is almost certainly to be led by top Trump adviser Chris LaCivita.

“He is a Washington person. I think he likes that,” a Trump adviser said of LaCivita.

Under this proposal, McDaniel would technically remain in her position as chairwoman, but she would have to clear nearly all of her major decisions with the Trump appointees.

“They’ve merged the DNA of the president’s campaign and the RNC,” starting from 2016, a GOP operative said. The person added that the reason LaCivita is involved “is to preserve the status quo of the arrangement.”

LaCivita did not return a request for comment.

The other option still on the table is McDaniel resigning, which would force a hectic and high-profile special election requiring all 168 voting members from across the country to get in the same room to pick a new chair.

That report came out at 4:42pm EST yesterday. We already have our answer.

POLITICO (“The RNC’s chief of staff is stepping down“):

Republican National Committee chief of staff Mike Reed is set to step down from his role later this month.

Reed had served as chief of staff at the committee since Jan. 2022. In an email to staff on Tuesday, obtained by POLITICO, he said that he wanted to focus on his “growing family [that] needs and deserves my attention.”

Two people familiar with Reed’s move say it has been in the works for around a year. They said he accepted his new job with Cornerstone, a government relations and public affairs firm, last fall but chose to remain at the RNC through the committee’s winter meeting last week in Las Vegas.

But the move also comes amid growing speculation that former President Donald Trump, the strong frontrunner for the Republican Party nomination, will push for a shakeup in leadership at the committee. And Reed himself acknowledged that timing element in his note to staffers.

“I know the timing of this news comes as many rumors in the press swirl and we prepare to merge with the presumptive nominee. I assure you, the RNC is in an incredibly strong position,” Reed wrote.

Trump met with RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel at his Mar-a-Lago estate on Monday, one day after he said in a interview with Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures With Maria Bartiromo” that he expected there would be “changes” at the RNC. After his meeting with McDaniel, the former president wrote a post on Truth Social that sidestepped the question of whether McDaniel would remain as chair through the election.

“Ronna is now Head of the RNC, and I’ll be making a decision the day after the South Carolina Primary as to my recommendations for RNC Growth,” Trump wrote.

Reed addressed the prospect of changes in his note staff.

“We always knew there would be some changes once we had a presumptive nominee, and we welcome that,” he wrote. “Chairman McDaniel has had great conversations with President Trump over the last few days and weeks. She will continue to lead this organization to merge seamlessly should he be the nominee.”

Apparently not.

NYT (“Ronna McDaniel, R.N.C. Chairwoman, Plans to Step Down“):

The chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, Ronna McDaniel, has told former President Donald J. Trump she is planning to step down shortly after the South Carolina primary on Feb. 24, according to two people familiar with the plans.

Mr. Trump is then likely to promote the chairman of the North Carolina Republican Party, Michael Whatley, as her replacement, according to several people familiar with the discussions. Under the arcana of the committee’s rules, however, Mr. Trump cannot simply install someone. A new election must take place, and Mr. Whatley could face internal party dissent.

Ms. McDaniel has faced months of pressure, a campaign from Trump-allied forces to unseat her and growing dissatisfaction and anxiety in the Trump camp about the strained finances of the R.N.C. as the general election cycle begins early.

Mr. Trump likes Mr. Whatley for one overwhelming reason, according to people who have discussed him with the former president: He is “a stop the steal guy,” as one of the people described him. He endorses Mr. Trump’s false claims about mass voter fraud and Mr. Trump believes he did a good job delivering North Carolina, a 2020 swing state, to him.

Mr. Whatley has baselessly claimed that election security efforts from Republicans in North Carolina stopped Democrats from cheating. He is also currently the general counsel at the Republican National Committee and has endorsed efforts to develop new voting laws.

What could possibly go wrong?

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Scott F. says:

    As if leadership is the reason the DNC is having trouble fundraising…

  2. MarkedMan says:

    Years ago there was still a lot of talk about the national Republican Party coming to its senses and moving beyond Trump. I never thought that was in the cards, because I’ve always viewed Trump as a manifestation of what the party had already become rather than someone who steered it to that place. And I pointed to the California Republican Party as what was more likely to happen: the crazies gain more power, which both drives out those with any moderating tendencies and attracts more crazies. Repeat, ad nauseum. That’s what is happening on a national level.

  3. Charley in Cleveland says:

    This is the thanks Ronna McDaniels gets for dropping “Romney” from her name at Trump’s insistence, and permitting the RNC to pick up a big chunk of Trump’s J-6 legal fees. RNC fund raising is down because of Trump’s ongoing grift of small donors.

  4. Kathy says:

    Obligatory “leopards won’t eat my face” reference.

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Scott F.: I think you misspelled RNC.

  6. just nutha says:

    Nothing is going wrong. The GOP is adjusting to what it has become.


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