RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel to resign after losing Trump's backing

FILE - RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel delivers remarks before the NBC News Republican Presidential Primary Debate at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County on Nov. 8, 2023, in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty

Ronna McDaniel, the chair of the Republican National Committee, will resign following the Super Tuesday primaries on March 5 amid pressure from former President Donald Trump to step down.

McDaniel announced her decision in a statement on Monday morning.

"I have decided to step aside at our Spring Training on March 8 in Houston to allow our nominee to select a Chair of their choosing," McDaniel said in the statement. "The RNC has historically undergone change once we have a nominee and it has always been my intention to honor that tradition."

In addition to McDaniel, RNC co-chair Drew McKissick said he would also leave.

Earlier this month, Trump announced his recommendations for changes within the RNC, noting his preference for North Carolina GOP Chair Michael Whatley to replace McDaniel. 

Trump also picked his daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, to serve as committee co-chair.

Ronna McDaniel was strong Trump advocate

McDaniel, 50, was the committee’s longest-serving leader since the Civil War. 

The niece of Utah Sen. Mitt Romney and a former chair of the Michigan GOP, she was Trump’s hand-picked choice to lead the RNC chair shortly after the 2016 election. Her profile as a suburban mother was also considered especially helpful as the party struggled to appeal to suburban women in the Trump era.

McDaniel served as a strong advocate for Trump and helped reshape the GOP in his image. But Trump’s MAGA movement increasingly blamed McDaniel for the former president’s 2020 loss and the party’s failures to meet expectations in races the last two years.

RNC leadership shakeup ahead of 2024 presidential election

The RNC leadership shakeup comes as the Republican Party shifts from the primary phase to the general election of the 2024 presidential contest. 

While former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley has remained in the race, Trump has won every state on the primary calendar and could clinch the Republican nomination by mid-March.

Trump cannot make leadership changes without the formal backing of the RNC’s 168-member governing body, but McDaniel had little choice but to acquiesce to Trump’s wishes given his status as the party’s likely presidential nominee and his popularity with party activists. 

RNC members from across the country are expected to approve Trump’s decision in March.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.