RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel to step down after South Carolina primaries: report

Ronna McDaniel’s tenure as chair of the Republican National Committee may soon be coming to an end.

But an RNC spokesperson is denying a report on Tuesday that McDaniel would step down later this month.

The New York Times reported on Tuesday evening that McDaniel – the longest serving RNC chair in modern history – told former President Donald Trump that she would resign after the Feb. 24 South Carolina Republican presidential primary, according to two people familiar with her plans.

And sources added that Trump would likely aim to promote North Carolina GOP chair Michael Whatley as McDaniel’s successor.

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Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel is interviewed by Fox News Digital at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics in Manchester on Jan. 22, 2024. (Fox News/Paul Steinhauser)

But in a statement to Fox News and other media outlets, RNC spokesperson Keith Schipper said “nothing has changed.”

“This will be decided after South Carolina,” Schipper added. 

The South Carolina primary is the next major contest in the 2024 GOP presidential nominating calendar.

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As he’s moved closer to securing the Republican presidential nomination, Trump’s been ramping up his calls for changes and new leadership at the GOP’s national party committee. 

The former president met on Monday with Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel at his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida, sources confirmed to Fox News.

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Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks at a primary election night party in Nashua, N.H., Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024.  (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Trump wrote in his Truth Social platform following the meeting that McDaniel was a “friend” but that he would be urging changes at the RNC after the Feb. 24 South Carolina GOP presidential primary, which is the next major contest in the Republican 2024 nominating calendar.

“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 wrote.

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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.

And in a Newsmax interview on Monday, when asked if it was time for McDaniel to step down, Trump replied: “I think she knows that, I think she understands that.”

RNC chair Ronna McDaniel re-elected

Re-elected Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel holds a gavel while speaking at the committee’s winter meeting in Dana Point, Calif., Friday, Jan. 27, 2023. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) (AP)

McDaniel was nominated by Trump soon after his presidential election victory in 2016, and she won re-election in 2019, 2021, and January of last year. 

While she ended up easily winning her last re-election, she faced a vocal faction of far-right detractors who viewed her as too close to the party’s establishment wing.

She’s also come under plenty of criticism in recent months over the RNC’s finances.

Alarms are ringing over the party’s fundraising heading into the general election. The RNC ended 2023 with just $8 million in cash on hand, less than half as much as the Democratic National Committee. 

But as Fox News Digital was first to report, the RNC did haul in $12 million in January, its best monthly fundraising haul in the 2024 election cycle.

And Trump, who is the commanding frontrunner for the Republican nomination as he bids for the White House a third straight time, was angry at McDaniel and the RNC in recent months for holding GOP presidential primary debates, which he skipped.

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.

The rival Democratic National Committee took aim at both McDaniel and Trump in a statement.

“Ronna McDaniel is reportedly the latest American to lose their job under Donald Trump,” DNC spokesperson Alex Floyd argued.

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Whatley has been a strong supporter of Trump’s repeated unproven claims that his 2020 election loss to President Biden was due to massive voter fraud.

While Trump holds plenty of influence over the Republican Party, there may be opposition by some of the RNC’s 168 committee members to naming Whatley as chair if McDaniel resigns.

In a separate move on Tuesday, RNC chief of staff Mike Reed announced in an email to committee staff that he would be departing at the end of the month. But Reed is leaving for a new position in the private sector that he accepted months ago.

Get the latest updates from the 2024 campaign trail, exclusive interviews and more at our Fox News Digital election hub.

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