Donald Trump has made it clear that RNC Chair Ronna Romney McDaniel has to go. The Republicans have had three bad election cycles in a row (2018, 2020, and 2022) and therefore heads must roll. Trump has never considered the possibility that 2018 was a reaction against his presidency, 2020 was a reaction against himself personally, and 2022 was a reaction against his candidate choices. He's never, ever to blame for the problems that seem to follow him everywhere he goes. So, his head is safe. Much as he might want to, he can't fire Mitch McConnell. Only the people of Kentucky can do that and they don't seem to want to. So Trump has decided McDaniel's time is up. She will be allowed to stay on until after the South Carolina primary, then she must make way for someone Trumpier.
Trump even has a preferred candidate to replace her: the chairman of the North Carolina Republican Party, Michael Whatley. He is: (1) a veteran Republican operative and (2) very experienced in repeating Trump's lies about the 2020 election. The first qualification is very helpful, but the second one is what will probably get the deal done. Whatley has repeatedly said there was massive fraud and "We know it that it took place in places like Milwaukee and Detroit and Philadelphia." These happen to be the biggest cities in three swing states Joe Biden barely won. We are not impressed with Whatley's intelligence, we must say. How could he have missed Phoenix and Atlanta? Of course, there is not a whit of evidence of fraud in any of them and Trump lost 60 court cases in which he claimed fraud. It is tough to prove fraud when there isn't any. Interestingly enough, in the state Whatley knows best, North Carolina, he didn't see any fraud at all. Could that be because Trump won that one?
Whatley has been in training for a while. He was a member of the George W. Bush recount team in Florida in 2000. For some reason, there he respected the Supreme Court when it shut down the counting while Bush was ahead. He had no respect at all for the 60 court decisions on the election in 2020. Odd.
On the subject of the Jan. 6 coup attempt, Whatley has condemned the violent acts performed but said they were not done by Republican voters or primarily by Trump supporters. On the other hand, Whatley was a presidential elector in North Carolina and voted for Trump, but does admit that Joe Biden got more electoral votes.
Whatley does have a downside, though: He is tightly associated with the Republican establishment that Steve Bannon wants to burn to the ground. That could be his Achilles' heel. Some RNC members have a different potential chairman in mind: Drew McKissick, chairman of the South Carolina Republican party. While Trump may prefer Whatley, ultimately the 168 members of the RNC pick the chair. In an earlier leadership contest (for co-chair), McKissick beat Whatley and still commands the support of a bloc of members. McKissick is definitely interested in leading the RNC if McDaniel steps down, so there could be a battle. Also, as co-chair, logically McKissick is next in line. Trump would prefer that McKissick not run so as to make the election of Whatley a coronation, but McKissick may not go easily. In any case, we will know how that goes by the end of February. (V)