The endorsement does not mean Whatley or Lara Trump will automatically receive these positions. The committee will have to vote among its members if McDaniel resigns, which is expected to happen shortly after South Carolina’s Feb. 24 primary. But that will likely be a formality, as party members will almost certainly support McDaniel’s preferences as the candidate becomes the presidential nominee.
As part of his effort to restructure the RNC, Trump will also tap Chris LaCivita as RNC chief operating officer, according to the GOP operative, who was granted anonymity to speak freely. LaCivita will also continue in his role as co-campaign manager for the Trump campaign. The personnel changes will take effect as soon as a new chairman takes office.
“The RNC MUST be a good partner in the presidential election. She must do the job we expect of the national party, and do it flawlessly,” Trump said in a statement. “That means helping to ensure fair and transparent elections across the country, voting everywhere — even in parts of the country where it won’t be easy — and working with my campaign as the presumptive Republican presidential nominee to win this election.” and MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”
Trump’s choice of Whatley came in part because North Carolinians were focused on one of the former president’s favorite topics: unfounded allegations of voter fraud. Whatley has argued that elections are vulnerable to fraud. He has also defended Trump over his involvement in the Jan. 6 siege of the Capitol, emphasizing that the rioters — and not the then-president — were to blame.
Whatley also pushed to censure then-Senator Richard Burr for his decision to vote for Trump’s second impeachment.
The changes come from discussions between Trump and his advisers in recent weeks about the future of the RNC.
In his new role, LaCivita will split his time between Trump headquarters in Palm Beach, Florida, and the RNC offices in Washington, DC. LaCivita, a former GOP executive from Virginia who advised the RNC during the 2016 election, will take on the role of focusing committee on battleground states.
The New York Times and Fox News previously reported Trump’s expected support for Whatley.