Who is new Trump-backed RNC Chairman Michael Whatley?

The Republican National Committee (RNC) has a new leader now that former chair Ronna McDaniel has stepped aside, and committee members’ have cast their votes at the group’s spring meeting in Houston, Texas on Friday.

North Carolina GOP Chairman Michael Whatley won that unanimous voice vote and will take the reins of a party struggling to undo its Democratic counterpart’s financial advantage as the November general election looms.

Whatley has served as the North Carolina GOP chair since 2019, and also serves as the general counsel for the RNC. He was hand-picked by former President Donald Trump for the role, and has been strong supporter of the latter’s repeated claims that his 2020 election loss to President Biden was due to massive voter fraud. 

One source told Fox News Digital last month that Whatley was specifically selected because he was ‘so powerful on election fraud’ that year. That same source also told Fox that Whatley ‘kept the fraud down’ in the state, ‘despite having a strong Democrat governor.’ 

The source added that Trump is focused on ensuring the votes in the 2024 general election are ‘safe.’

Prior to his work with the Republican Party, Whatley served as a federal law clerk, a senior official in the President George W. Bush administration and as the chief of staff for former Sen. Elizabeth Dole, R-N.C. He also served as a senior adviser to the 2000 Bush-Cheney campaign, Florida Recount and Transition Teams, as well as the Trump-Pence campaign and transition teams. 

New Hampshire GOP chair and former RNC committee member Chris Ager, who attended Friday’s meeting in Houston, told Fox News Digital Whatley was ‘a good choice’ to lead the party.

‘The people at the RNC know and like Mike Whatley, so he’s a good choice and Lara Trump is a trusted adviser to the president, so why not give him the tools he needs to get the job done. If he trusts those people, let’s give him what he needs to get that win in November,’ he said.

Whatley will be joined by Trump’s daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, who was also elected by a unanimous voice vote to serve as co-chair. 

Trump is also installing campaign adviser Chris LaCivita as RNC chief of staff. LaCivita, a longtime Republican strategist and RNC veteran, will continue to keep his role as one of the two top advisers steering Trump’s 2024 presidential campaign.

The moves solidify Trump’s takeover of the RNC and effectively cement the reality of the past eight years — the GOP is the party of Trump.

‘Today, the RNC poured gasoline on a dumpster fire by promoting Trump-backed election denier Michael Whatley as their new leader,’ Democratic National Committee spokesperson Alex Floyd told Fox News Digital following Whatley’s election. 

‘Whatley has embraced Donald Trump’s dangerous and extreme agenda, and is so out-of-touch he even broke with other GOP leaders and failed to denounce a white supremacist with neo-Nazi ties. This latest MAGA rebrand will not change the RNC’s dire fundraising issues or string of electoral losses, and Republicans will regret elevating a fringe election denier as chairman when he leads them to another Trump defeat in November,’ he added.

The RNC gathering, which was scheduled in the last couple of weeks, came in the same week Trump swept 14 of the 15 GOP primaries and caucuses on Super Tuesday — which moved him much closer to officially locking up the 2024 Republican presidential nomination. 

It also comes just two days after Trump’s last rival for the nomination — former U.N. ambassador and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley — dropped out of the race.

Trump’s takeover of the RNC is far from controversial. It is traditional as a presidential election cycle moves from the primaries to the general election for the presumptive nominee of the party out of power to take control and merge operations. 

Fox News’ Brooke Singman contributed to this report.

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