Beleaguered Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel would likely step down from her post if 2024 GOP front-runner Donald Trump said the word as the party grapples with sputtering fundraising numbers, insiders tell The Post.
Speculation that McDaniel was ready to abandon the chair increased Tuesday night after the New York Times reported she planned to resign following the Feb. 24 South Carolina primary, in which Trump is expected to post another big win over challenger Nikki Haley.
RNC sources insisted the report was not accurate, but acknowledged McDaniel, 50, would be all ears after the first-in-the-South contest.
“It’s true Ronna was [at Mar-a-Lago with Trump on Monday]. And look, it was always the case that when we had a nominee, she would go to the nominee and say, ‘How can we help? We’re here for you, and if you don’t want me here, that’s cool too,’” a committee member said.
“Honestly,” a RNC employee added, “she’s probably tired of being jerked around and she’s already said that she’s done after this cycle anyway.”
McDaniel’s performance has been scrutinized after the GOP lost the House in 2018, the White House and Senate in 2020, and barely regained the House while failing to recapture the Senate in 2022. She was re-elected to a fourth term in January 2023, only to see the party end the year with just $8 million cash on hand, the lowest fourth-quarter figure in nine years.
“Even though she won the chair race,” the employee added, “it’s been a year of outside folks calling for her to step down, standing in the way of RNC initiatives — and also some of these outside actors have flat-out asked people to stop donating to the committee.”
“We came out of a divisive election last year,” the committeeman added, referring to the challenge to McDaniel by former Trump campaign legal adviser Harmeet Dhillon.
“There was a two-thirds [to] one-third vote, and out of the one-third, I would say half of them continued to agitate nonstop against the RNC.”
Among the membership, McDaniel enjoys widespread backing, but there is increasing awareness that a change may be best for all involved, the source added.
“There’s a lot of support for Ronna, but there’s also comfort with the idea that, if the president wins big in South Carolina and lets it be known he wants to go in a different direction, RNC members should work with our nominee to help implement changes,” the committeeman added.
The 77-year-old former president privately backed McDaniel for a fourth term, dispatching some of his top lieutenants to lobby voting RNC members on her behalf — but the conduct of the party’s 2024 primary has left a bad taste in his mouth.
“I don’t think it’s a secret that the Trump team didn’t want the RNC to have debates and an open primary process,” said the member. “But RNC members wanted the candidates to compete on a level playing field, so she took one for the team.”
McDaniel responded to the Times report in a Wednesday email to RNC members, writing: “Nothing has changed and there will not be any changes decided on until after South Carolina, when we may have our eventual nominee,” a source familiar with the message told The Post.
Not everyone will be sorry to see the back of McDaniel, who replaced Reince Priebus as RNC chair in 2017 after he was tapped to by Trump’s first White House chief of staff.
Meanwhile, New Jersey Republican National Committeeman — who has been vocal in opposing McDaniel — said many RNC members share his sentiment that she should step down.
“Many of my fellow RNC members share the view that we’ve been losing for too long,” New Jersey committeeman Bill Palatucci told The Post, “and so we need to do something different now.”
Several names have already been floated as possible McDaniel replacements, with Trump set to recommend North Carolina GOP Chair Michael Whatley, Fox News reported Wednesday, citing a source familiar with the matter.
Drew McKissick, chairman of the South Carolina Republican Party, is the choice of some conservatives to get the nod, Arizona RNC member Tyler Bowyer said on X.
McKissick did not immediately respond to an inquiry from The Post, but a well-connected South Carolina operative said they wouldn’t be “surprised” if McKissick was angling for the job.
“He’s very closely aligned with Trump. He’s been in the trenches and knows the people,” the person said.
Bowyer also suggested Dhillon, RNC Treasurer KC Crosbie, or Delaware Republican Party Chair Julianne Murray as candidates to co-chair the party.
“I highly recommend the other two!” Dhillon responded.