Trump’s Game Plan: Campaign Sets Sights on Taking Over Republican National Committee

Former President Donald Trump’s team is secretly considering ways to rearrange the Republican National Committee if he is the GOP nominee, including ideas that include and exclude the current chairwoman, Ronna McDaniel.

Two sources familiar with the strategy, including a Trump aide, told NBC News that Trump’s campaign organization is mulling a plan that would effectively create two independent organizations: McDaniel would continue to serve as chairwoman, but she would be largely symbolic. Meanwhile, staffers close to Trump would be installed and given extensive control over party operations.

Under the plan, Trump would appoint two co-chairs, one to supervise fundraising and the other to oversee party operations.

According to one source, former RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, former Trump administration official and major GOP donor Linda McMahon, and casino magnate Steve Wynn are all possible candidates for the fundraising side, while both sources believe top Trump adviser Chris LaCivita will almost certainly lead the operation.

“He is a Washington person. “I believe he enjoys that,” a Trump adviser said of LaCivita.

Under this idea, McDaniel would nominally retain her post as chairperson, but she would have to consult with Trump appointees on practically all critical issues.

“They’ve merged the DNA of the president’s campaign and the RNC,” a GOP operative stated, beginning in 2016. The individual went on to say that LaCivita’s involvement “is to preserve the status quo of the arrangement.”

Trump's Game Plan: Campaign Sets Sights on Taking Over Republican National Committee

LaCivita did not respond to a request for comment.

The second possibility remaining on the table is McDaniel’s resignation, which would necessitate a frenetic and high-profile special election in which all 168 voting members from throughout the country would gather in the same room to select a new chair.

The New York Times reported Tuesday night that McDaniel informed Trump that she intends to retire shortly after the South Carolina primary on February 24. NBC News has not corroborated the report.

“Nothing’s changed. “This will be decided after South Carolina,” RNC spokesman Keith Schipper told NBC.

Trump, like any other presidential candidate, cannot technically fire the RNC chair. But he has already stated that he is seeking change at the top, placing additional pressure on McDaniel.

“The main question in the next couple of weeks is going to be, does Ronna stay and get layered over, or does she resign completely?” The Trump adviser stated. “Once they [Trump and the campaign] make that decision, we are going to start to see movement.”

A Trump supporter also stated that the former president has frequently supported methods that would ultimately save lives.

“The best kept secret with Trump is that he doesn’t actually like to fire people,” a source close to Trump claimed.

“The majority of the RNC voting members are not fond of Ronna, but they’ll do what the president asks,” a member of the Republican Party said. “So, if the president says to remain with her, they will. If he says he no longer trusts her and that she must leave, and a someone who is acceptable to him and the campaign is proposed, they will vote yes to remove her and install this new person.”

McDaniel’s job at the RNC has been under intense scrutiny in recent weeks, owing to the party’s financial troubles and a persistent chorus of criticism from certain RNC members, who blame her for any perceived party problem.

Most notably, her strongest party opponents blame her for the GOP’s poor performance in national election cycles since 2016, as well as the party finishing 2023 with only $8 million in the bank, compared to the Democratic National Committee’s $21 million.

Those fault lines were on display in Las Vegas last week, when Turning Point USA, a powerful conservative group run by vocal McDaniel critic Charlie Kirk, hosted its own event to air issues about McDaniel’s performance.

The group, which convened only days before the RNC winter meetings in the same city, has been the largest organization to mobilize around the concept of removing McDaniel – while anti-McDaniel sentiment has acquired some traction among RNC members.

Members-only RNC gatherings have occasionally become places for McDaniel detractors to confront her face-to-face, as was the case last week during a members-only brunch at the Paris Hotel and Casino, according to two sources in the room.

During the meeting, some members, led by Kansas GOP Chair Mike Brown, asked McDaniel to provide her RNC credit card statements as a demonstration of financial transparency on party spending.

During the 2022 leadership race, McDaniel faced negative stories about RNC expenditures, leading Trump’s top campaign adviser, Susie Wiles, to defend her.

“There was real tension between several members and Chair McDaniel,” said a member of the room, who spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to be candid. “Words were exchanged, and irritation levels were high. It’s evident that certain members of the RNC want to see change, and the current chair refuses to listen to their concerns.”

Brown did not respond to a request for comment.

McDaniel defended herself, but she had few defenders in the room, according to another RNC member who attended the brunch.

“It got intense at times,” the second member explained. “Was an interesting way to start the weekend.”

McDaniel comfortably won re-election to her fourth term in January 2023 and has a significant base of support among the party’s members.

“I am not going to get into what happens in members-only meetings,” a McDaniel supporter said after last week’s breakfast. “But I’ll say that Ronna McDaniel will be remembered as the party’s best grassroots chair. She has raised a lot of money and is quite excellent at it.

“Bidenomics hasn’t been helpful for anyone. “We all go grocery shopping, and the prices are rising,” the fan remarked. “When you are a small dollar donor [to the RNC], that’s the kind of thing that gets cut first.”

The individual also expressed concern that high-profile conflicts over party leadership can be self-defeating, something Republicans have mostly concentrated on in recent years.

“Democrats don’t do what we did. “Many people probably have no idea who the DNC chair is,” the source continued. “Keeping that name out there is, unfortunately, how some people make their money.”

Trump, who handpicked McDaniel to lead the party in 2016, has done nothing to quell suspicions of his impending demise in recent days. Over the weekend, he stated that if he is the Republican nominee, “some changes” will occur at the RNC, and on Monday night, he agreed that something is coming — but most likely not until after the Feb. 24 South Carolina primary.

“Things are looking great in the Presidential Race of 2024 against Crooked Joe Biden,” Trump posted on Truth Social Monday. “Ronna is now Head of the RNC, and I’ll be making a decision the day after the South Carolina Primary as to my recommendation for RNC Growth.”

A meeting McDaniel had with Trump on Monday night at Mar-a-Lago fueled speculation that Trump had summoned McDaniel to discuss her future, or lack thereof, as RNC chairwoman.

The two Trump associates who are familiar with the former president’s thinking dismissed the notion that the meeting was an indication that McDaniel was ousted or that a shakeup was impending.

“The meeting was rescheduled from previously. “It was nothing major,” one said. “I think it [some changes] will be after South Carolina, but no one really knows for sure.”

The insider stated that McDaniel “could still very much have a place” at the RNC, but there would be others with leadership responsibilities.

“No one knows exactly what is on his [Trump’s] mind,” said the source. “We will have to wait and see.”

SOURCE: Nbcnews, NYtimes, theHill

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