All in the family: Lara Trump poised to become RNC co-chairwoman in culmination of political rise

Lara Trump has been involved in father-in-law former President Donald Trump’s political machine since its start, and her recommendation by him to take up the position of co-chairwoman at the Republican National Committee marks the peak of her critical role in Republican politics.

Lara Trump was far from the only family member involved in Donald Trump’s political efforts. Several others were central to Donald Trump’s campaigns and administration, namely son-in-law Jared Kushner and daughter Ivanka Trump, and Donald Trump’s adult sons Donald Jr. and Eric Trump, Lara Trump’s husband.

But Lara Trump’s efforts have endured and expanded to include the larger world of Republican electoral politics over the years, earning her Donald Trump’s pick for the integral RNC position ahead of the expected merger between his 2024 campaign and the party.

FILE – Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump arrives to speak at a primary election night party in Nashua, New Hampshire, Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024, with Eric and Lara Trump. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

As confidence in RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel has dwindled among a significant faction of party members, including dozens of committeemen and women, her relationship with Donald Trump has simultaneously seemed to deteriorate.

Those sowing doubt in McDaniel’s capabilities have welcomed Donald Trump’s recommendations, specifically praising the choice of Lara Trump for co-chairwoman. “We’ve been an advocate of Lara Trump for the past month in this critical role – known her a long time, she’s fantastic. This is a great result. I’m thrilled the president will support Lara as co-chair and Chris LaCivita as COO,” Turning Point USA and Turning Point Action founder and CEO Charlie Kirk wrote on X.

“This is a massive WIN for the grassroots. Both of them respect the base of the party and know the value of the local GOP. Congratulation[s] to all of you who helped push this forward. Contact your RNC member and encourage them to vote in favor of this move,” he continued.

TP Action’s dissatisfaction with the RNC’s leadership was recently underscored by the organization’s conveniently timed and planned “alternate RNC meeting” in Las Vegas, which overlapped with the party’s annual winter meeting. According to the group, 50 to 70 of the RNC’s 168 committeemen and women attended.

Prior to the announcement of Donald Trump’s selections, Kirk had even suggested Lara Trump be chosen for chairwoman. However, the former president ultimately opted to recommend North Carolina Republican Party Chairman Michael Whatley for McDaniel’s role, citing his commitment “to election integrity, which we must have to keep fraud out of our election so it can’t be stolen.”

“My very talented daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, has agreed to run as the RNC Co-Chair. Lara is an extremely talented communicator and is dedicated to all that MAGA stands for,” Donald Trump said in a statement earlier this week. “She has told me she wants to accept this challenge and would be GREAT!”

Lara Trump has been active in Donald Trump’s political orbit since his 2016 campaign, during which she stumped for him in her home state of North Carolina.

Lara Trump speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference, CPAC 2023, Friday, March 3, 2023, at National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

In 2020, it was reported that the Trump political operation had funneled hundreds of millions of dollars through a limited liability corporation for which Lara Trump served on the board. According to the New York Times, American Made Media Consultants was used to spend $700 million for Donald Trump’s political efforts. Documents also reportedly revealed that Lara Trump was intended to be the LLC’s president at one point. A spokesperson for Lara Trump told the publication at the time that she “resigned from the A.M.M.C. board in October 2019” to focus on the campaign. The spokesperson added that no “ethical or legal” reasons existed for her not to serve on the board either way.

Other family members who were heavily involved with the Trump operation, however, have stepped back. Kushner, Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser during his administration, has said he would turn down an offer to serve in his 2025 term if he wins in November.

“I’ve really enjoyed the opportunity as a family to be out of the spotlight … and so we’ve both really enjoyed the opportunity to be down here in Florida with the kids,” he said of himself and Ivanka Trump.

By Kushner’s description, in 2016, Donald Trump’s bid “really was a family campaign.” But he noted that Donald Trump’s much more streamlined, veteran-run effort in 2024 is “a very professionally run campaign.”

And while Donald Trump’s daughter and son-in-law seem happy to sit back this time around, Lara Trump appears to be all in when it comes to helping lead the RNC and reelecting her father-in-law.

“Here’s what I can tell you: The RNC needs to be the leanest, most lethal political fighting machine we’ve ever seen in American history. That is the goal over the next 9 1/2 months,” she said on a recent Newsmax appearance. “If I am elected to this position, I can assure you, there will not be any more $70,000 or whatever exorbitant amount of money it was spent on flowers.”

“Every single penny,” she said, will go toward “electing Donald J. Trump as president of the United States and saving this country.”

From left, Kimberly Guilfoyle, Jared Kushner, Eric Trump, and Lara Trump applaud as former President Donald Trump announces he is running for president for the third time as he speaks at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2022. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

New Jersey RNC Committeeman Bill Palatucci remarked on Donald Trump’s leadership choices to the Washington Examiner, saying, “I have never had an issue with any nominee putting their imprint on the committee.”

“The important factor is senior staff,” he said, “and Chris in my experience is a pro and understands the role of the RNC in the presidential cycle.”

Aside from his approval of LaCivita, Palatucci said, “From there, it is the responsibility of the Executive Committee and the Budget Committee to ensure that the spending is appropriate.”

With Donald Trump’s choices at the helm of the RNC and his daughter-in-law pledging “every single penny” to help his reelection, the former president could also find some relief for his mounting legal expenses. In 2023, Donald Trump reportedly spent $51.2 million on his legal bills and has roughly $23.5 million left with an allied super PAC to cover more. However, according to Bloomberg News, without action, this could dry up by July.

Donald Trump’s primary competitor, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, responded to his recommendations for the RNC’s leadership on Fox News, questioning, “Now you go and you look at what he did with the RNC yesterday. … He’s going and changing out leadership so that it’s somebody that he prefers and his daughter-in-law to co-chair?”

“He’s putting his campaign manager as the director? Are we gonna let him just take over the party that’s gonna control the convention too? At what point do we not see the problem? We don’t have kings in this country,” she said.

Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel speaks before a Republican presidential primary debate hosted by NBC News, Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2023, at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County in Miami. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

Timing for the shake-up is poised to take place sometime after the South Carolina primary next week. RNC spokesman Keith Schipper said in a statement earlier this month, “Nothing has changed. This will be decided after South Carolina.”

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McDaniel stepping aside would pave the way for new leaders of the party, giving Donald Trump’s selections a shot.

LaCivita did not respond to several requests from the Washington Examiner. Representatives for Whatley and Donald Trump similarly did not provide comment to the Washington Examiner.

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