Former President Trump has recommended North Carolina GOP Chair Michael Whatley to replace RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel after the South Carolina Primary, Fox News Digital has learned.
A source familiar told Fox News Digital that there will be ‘a change’ in leadership at the Republican National Committee after the Feb. 24 South Carolina Primary.
The source told Fox News Digital that Trump is pushing for Whatley to replace McDaniel — specifically because he was ‘so powerful on election fraud’ in 2020.
Whatley has served as the North Carolina GOP chair since 2019. Whatley also serves as the general counsel for the Republican National Committee.
Trump won North Carolina in 2020. The source said that Whatley ‘kept the fraud down’ in the state, ‘despite having a strong Democrat governor.’
The source stressed that Trump is focused on ensuring the votes in the 2024 general election are ‘safe.’
‘Trump goes around saying ‘we don’t need the votes, we have plenty, what we need is protected ballots during the election, period,’’ the source explained, stressing the importance of ‘protecting the ballot’ in the 2024 general election.
Prior to his work with the Republican Party, Whatley served as a federal law clerk, a senior official in the President George W. Bush administration and as the chief of staff for former Sen. Elizabeth Dole, R-N.C. Whatley also served as a senior advisor to the Bush-Cheney campaign, Florida Recount and Transition Teams, as well as the Trump-Pence campaign and transition teams.
Earlier this week, Trump met with McDaniel at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida. After the meeting, Trump posted on his Truth Social that McDaniel was a ‘friend’ but that he would be urging changes at the RNC after the South Carolina GOP presidential primary.
‘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,’ the former president and 2024 GOP frontrunner posted on Truth Social.
In an interview that aired Sunday on Fox News’ ‘Sunday Morning Futures’ with Maria Bartiromo, Trump said of McDaniel, ‘I think she did great when she ran Michigan for me.’
The former president pointed to McDaniel’s previous tenure as chair of the Michigan GOP.
‘I think she did OK, initially, in the RNC. I would say right now, there’ll probably be some changes made,’ he added.
When she won re-election last year, McDaniel said in an interview with Fox News that it would be her last two-year term steering the national party committee.
If McDaniel does resign, her replacement would need approval from the 168 RNC committee members.
‘If Trump continues to win primaries, most of the 168 will follow his lead whether he picks Whatley or someone else,’ an RNC committee member who asked to remain anonymous told Fox News Digital. ‘Maybe he’ll face heavy opposition from outside the committee, but not from within it.’
Two sources, though, told Fox News Digital that no decisions will formally be made at the RNC until after the Feb. 24 South Carolina primary. But those sources said McDaniel is also focused on ensuring the upcoming merger between the RNC and the campaign operation of the presumptive Republican presidential nominee goes smoothly.
McDaniel addressed the speculation about her potential departure in a letter to RNC members Wednesday afternoon.
‘With a news cycle full of palace intrigue and speculation surrounding all of us, I want to take the time to reassure all of you that I am still hard at work as RNC Chairwoman and building a machine that will elect Republicans up and down the ballot in November,’ she wrote.
The letter included a list of priorities for the party, including fundraising, the New York special congressional election to replace former Rep. George Santos, and dozens of election-related lawsuits.
‘Day in and day out, we continue to hold Joe Biden and Democrats’ feet to the fire for their continued assaults on our freedoms and failures, on everything from the border crisis, Bidenomics, and skyrocketing crime. Myself and my staff are refusing to be distracted by the outside noise and we remain committed to our mission – rumors to the contrary are simply not true,’ she said.
Trump could be named the presumptive Republican nominee by the end of the month.