Ronna McDaniel, Chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, Plans to Resign

Ronna McDaniel, chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, announced that she will step down in just over a week, paving the way for former President Donald J. Trump to install his preferred leader for the party.


McDaniel's Resignation and Trump's Influence

Ronna McDaniel, the chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, said on Monday that she would step down in just over a week, as former President Donald J. Trump seeks to install a new handpicked leader for the national party ahead of the general election this fall.

The decision is not a surprise. The chairwoman, Ronna McDaniel, told Mr. Trump weeks ago that she planned to leave shortly after the South Carolina primary, which was held on Saturday. But she now sets in motion a new election within the party’s official body, where Mr. Trump’s preference for chair and co-chair will try to secure enough votes to take over.

Mr. Trump has publicly backed Michael Whatley, the chairman of the North Carolina Republican Party and the national committee’s general counsel, to replace Ms. McDaniel. And he has said that he wants his daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, to be the next co-chair.

McDaniel's Contributions and Future Plans

Ms. McDaniel, the first woman chair of the R.N.C. in more than 40 years, thanked Mr. Trump and other Republicans for their support. She had been the chairwoman of the Republican Party in Michigan, and became the national committee leader in 2017, after Mr. Trump won the state in the 2016 election.

Ms. McDaniel called it “the honor of a lifetime” to have served in the role, and recounted her accomplishments during her tenure, including focusing on early voting and creating an election integrity unit after the 2020 election.

That unit focuses on an issue that Mr. Trump and his associates plan to push in the general election in 2024, despite no evidence of widespread fraud in the 2020 election and Mr. Trump’s allies having lost dozens of court cases related to that election. He has made it clear that he wants the R.N.C. to do more on election integrity.

Reactions and Criticisms of McDaniel's Leadership

For months, Ms. McDaniel was the subject of an intense pressure campaign by some of Mr. Trump’s most vocal allies in the right-wing news media ecosystem to force her from her post. They focused their frustrations over the party’s performance in 2022, not on the former president and the candidates he backed, but on the party chair.

Criticism from some of Mr. Trump’s allies for her performance was countered by praise for her work from several Republican officials who gave statements through the R.N.C., including Senator Steve Daines of Montana, the chairman of the Senate Republican campaign arm, and Representative Richard Hudson of North Carolina, the chairman of the House Republican campaign arm.

Kevin McCarthy, the former House speaker who was recently forced out of his seat by hard-right members of his caucus, described her as a “strong leader” and said she was “instrumental in helping us win back the House majority” after losing it in 2018.