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Trump backs North Carolina Republican as RNC chair, daughter-in-law Lara Trump as co-chair By Reuters

Trump backs North Carolina Republican as RNC chair, daughter-in-law Lara Trump as co-chair

© Reuters. Former U.S. President Donald Trump is introduced by North Carolina Republican Party chairman Michael Whatley before speaking at the North Carolina GOP convention dinner in Greenville, North Carolina, U.S. June 5, 2021. REUTERS/Jonathan Drake/File Photo

By Nathan Layne and Gram Slattery

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -Donald Trump on Monday endorsed North Carolina Republican Party Chair Michael Whatley as the next chair of the Republican National Committee (RNC) and his daughter-in-law Lara Trump as co-chair.

Trump, the frontrunner to become the party’s nominee and take on Democratic President Joe Biden in November, said he needed the RNC to carry out its work “flawlessly” and to be “a good partner” with his campaign for the 2024 election.

The move to endorse Whatley follows weeks of media reports indicating that Trump had grown frustrated with the current chair, Ronna McDaniel, over lacklustre fundraising and the party’s performance at the ballot box. During her tenure, Trump was defeated in 2020, and the party turned in a weaker-than-expected performance in the 2022 midterm elections.

“I think my friend Michael Whatley should be the RNC’s next leader. Michael has been with me from the beginning, has done a great job in his home state of North Carolina,” Trump said in the statement.

“My very talented daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, has agreed to run as the RNC Co-Chair…She has told me she wants to accept this challenge and would be GREAT.”

As part of the reshuffling, Trump said Chris LaCivita, a co-manager of his campaign, would serve as the RNC’s chief operating officer. LaCivita is a veteran political operative who worked at the RNC during the 2016 race, helping thwart a challenge to Trump’s nomination on the convention floor.

Sources had told Reuters last week that McDaniel was looking to step down from her position after the South Carolina primary on Feb. 24, which Trump is expected to win, putting him closer to securing the nomination.

Opinion polls suggest Trump will easily beat Nikki Haley, his sole remaining challenger, in the state.

McDaniel will continue working hard to beat Biden this fall, an RNC spokesperson said on Monday after Trump’s statement, adding: “Nothing has changed, and there will be no decision or announcement about future plans until after South Carolina.”

Steve Scheffler, a Republican National Committee member from Iowa, said he expected Trump’s endorsed leadership slate to be approved by a majority of the body’s…

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