Trump criticized for RNC chair endorsements: “Complete and total takeover”

Former President Donald Trump is facing criticism for a trio of newly announced Republican National Committee (RNC) leadership endorsements.

Reports emerged last week that longtime RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel would be stepping down following a period of extended criticism from Trump and his loyalists. While McDaniel herself has yet to confirm the reports, Trump wasted little time in naming a replacement.

In a statement released on Monday night, Trump endorsed Michael Whatley, the current chairman of the North Carolina Republican Party and a staunch supporter of Trump’s evidence-free claims of massive fraud in the 2020 presidential election, as McDaniel’s successor.

The ex-president also endorsed his daughter-in-law Lara Trump to be second in command as the RNC co-chair, while his 2024 campaign adviser Chris LaCivita was tapped as chief operating officer (COO) of the RNC.

The endorsement of Whatley, a lawyer who also currently serves as general counsel for the RNC, prompted backlash from some who objected to his views on the 2020 election. The endorsement of Lara Trump, who is married to the former president’s son Eric Trump, was critiqued due to her close family connection to the former president.

Trump’s choice of LaCivita as RNC COO ruffled the feathers of some who previously supported the presidential campaign of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, whom LaCivita was highly critical of before he dropped out of the race and endorsed Trump.

Newsweek reached out for comment to Trump’s office and the RNC via email on Monday night.

“This is a complete and total takeover of the RNC by Trump,” former federal prosecutor and frequent Trump critic Ron Filipkowski wrote in a post to X, formerly Twitter. “Any other GOP candidates out there looking for help from the RNC better not hold your breath. It is now a wholly owned subsidiary and piggy bank for the Cult Master. Let the campaign finance violations begin!”

“Trump endorsing his daughter-in-law Lara Trump to be the RNC co-chair perfectly illustrates why the GOP will better off if Trump loses,” @SwissWatchGuy posted on X. “The GOP shouldn’t be the Trump family’s personal piggy bank, and that is exactly where this headed.”

“Does the RNC really want to be run by a family whose corporate empire was just convicted for tax fraud?” lawyer Bradley P. Moss wrote.

“Trump was totally fine with having Ronna Romney run the RNC into the ground because she had paid his legal bills,” posted columnist Pedro L. Gonzalez. “But now that she’s been thrown under the bus, he gives the nod to new leadership, with Lara Trump as co-chair. Fundamentally unserious party.”

“This is complete trash, but to be expected,” wrote self-described “constitutional conservative” and DeSantis supporter @JoshPower80. “Makes his daughter in law co-chair, a Trump stooge as chair, and one of his unethical, degenerate henchmen COO. It’s getting harder and harder to support the GOP.”

Others praised the former president for his RNC leadership picks.

“Trump made a great endorsement for RNC Chair!” posted @RealAPolitics.

“I think this is a good compromise,” @DerrickShieldsX posted. “The handful RNC leaders that will cast the votes for the chairs are a mixed bag of America First modern republicans, and RINOs clinging to power. Glad to see Lara Trump as an endorsement!”

Trump, who continues to falsely claim that the 2020 presidential election was “stolen” by President Joe Biden, said in his statement on Monday that Whatley had “done a great job in his home state of North Carolina” and was “committed to election integrity, which we must have to keep fraud out of our election so it can’t be stolen.”

The former president and current 2024 GOP frontrunner went on to praise his daughter-in-law Lara Trump for having “agreed to run as the RNC Co-Chair,” calling her “an extremely talented communicator” who “is dedicated to all that MAGA stands for.”

“I have also asked Chris LaCivita, in whom I have full confidence, to assume the role of, in effect, Chief Operating Officer of the Committee,” Trump continued. “This group of three is highly talented, battle-tested, and smart. They have my complete and total endorsement to lead the Republican National Committee.”

Former President Donald Trump is pictured during a campaign stop in Conway, South Carolina on February 10, 2024. Trump announced three endorsements for Republican National Committee (RNC) leadership on Monday night.

Win McNamee