WASHINGTON — Ronna McDaniel said Monday that she will step down next month as chairwoman of the Republican National Committee following former President Donald Trump’s endorsement of a new slate of leaders to direct the party.

McDaniel’s decision followed Saturday’s South Carolina primary and came less than two weeks after Trump endorsed North Carolina GOP chairman Michael Whatley to be the next chairman of the RNC, his daughter-in-law Lara Trump to be co-chair and top campaign aide Chris LaCivita to be the party’s chief operating officer.

McDaniel’s decision was first reported by The New York Times.

In a statement, McDaniel said it had been an “honor and privilege” to serve as chairwoman for seven years.

“Some of my proudest accomplishments include firing Nancy Pelosi, winning the popular vote in 2022, creating an Election Integrity Department, building the committee’s first small dollar grassroots donor program, strengthening our state parties through our Growing Republican Organizations to Win program, expanding the Party through minority outreach at our community centers, and launching Bank Your Vote to get Republicans to commit to voting early,” she said.

“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,” she added. “The RNC has historically undergone change once we have a nominee and it has always been my intention to honor that tradition.”

Trump hand-picked McDaniel after the 2016 election to serve as RNC chair as Reince Priebus left the post to become his first chief of staff at the White House. She was re-elected to a fourth term in January 2023, fending off challenger Harmeet Dhillon.

McDaniel, 50, was the second woman to lead the RNC. She previously was chair of the Republican Party in Michigan, where she oversaw Trump’s successful 2016 effort in the state.

Trump told Fox News this month that “some changes” were likely at the RNC when he was asked about McDaniel’s performance.

“I think she did great when she ran Michigan for me. I think she did OK initially in the RNC,” Trump said in the interview. “I would say right now there’ll probably be some changes made.”

Scrutiny of McDaniel’s leadership at the RNC ramped up among party activists after the midterms in 2022, when Republicans lost several critical Senate and governors’ races. Grassroots activists and conservative influencers upset with McDaniel’s leadership coalesced around Dhillon’s effort to unseat her. But McDaniel offered a show of force ahead of the party’s winter meetings last year, unveiling a list of more than 100 RNC members who backed her for another term, and she easily defeated the challenge.

Criticism of McDaniel’s leadership is focused on her handling of party finances and grassroots efforts. The party’s latest disclosure with the Federal Election Commission showed it was facing a cash crunch, with less than half as much money in the bank as the Democratic National Committee reported at the end of 2023.

Speaking to reporters in Beaufort, South Carolina, last week, Lara Trump, Trump’s daughter-in-law, was asked whether the RNC would help to pay Trump’s legal bills as he faces prosecution in four jurisdictions across the country.

“Well, I said every penny will go to making sure Donald Trump will be the 47th president, to ensuring that we have great candidates to expand our lead in the House and to take back the Senate,” she said, adding about providing funding for his legal expenses, “I actually don’t know where they stand on that.”

“Well, I think that his legal bills have already been covered at this point,” she said when pressed further.

LaCivita told reporters later in the week that the RNC will not use party funds to cover Trump-related legal expenses.

Calls for change at the RNC ramped up ahead of the party’s winter meetings in Las Vegas this month. Charlie Kirk, a conservative activist and a co-founder of the right-wing group Turning Point USA who led the charge to oust McDaniel last year, held a nearby conference dubbed the “Restoring National Confidence” summit — a clear shot at the party.

Some saw the focus on McDaniel’s performance as a way for conservatives to redirect anger on the right over Trump’s recent electoral failings, particularly in the midterms, after he elevated a number of candidates who embraced his false claims about the 2020 election and ended up losing key statewide races in swing states.

Behind closed doors last winter, two RNC members working on the party’s internal review of what went wrong during the previous year’s elections argued over whether the results had more to do with bad candidates or a lack of financial backing from the RNC. Tyler Bowyer, an RNC committeeman from Arizona who is also a top Turning Point executive and spoke at the group’s summit last week, argued it was the money, while Henry Barbour, an RNC committeeman from Mississippi who co-chaired the autopsy effort, argued the losses were because of candidate quality.

Ultimately, two people familiar with the party’s thinking told NBC News last year that a final report was unlikely to be made public, though a draft copy was leaked, and it did not mention Trump.

After Trump secured commanding GOP victories in Iowa and New Hampshire, McDaniel said it was time for the party to rally around him as the “eventual nominee,” she told Fox News following the New Hampshire primary.

Days later, a Trump ally and RNC committeeman proposed a resolution to be considered at the party’s winter meetings that would declare Trump the party’s presumptive nominee. But after pushback, Trump himself called for the resolution to be scrapped.

Trump’s rival, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, seized on the short-lived effort, referring to it repeatedly on the trail in South Carolina. She has said it showed the party is “clearly not” an honest broker.

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