Nikki Haley suggests Trump is aiming to 'take' the election by promoting his daughter-in-law for RNC leadership

Trump has endorsed North Carolina GOP Chair Michael Whatley to be the next RNC chief and Lara Trump, the wife of his son Eric, to serve as co-chair.


Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley suggested Tuesday that former President Donald Trump is trying to "take" the 2024 election by promoting a former adviser, a current campaign adviser and his daughter-in-law to top GOP leadership posts.

"Now he has decided he has fired the RNC chair," Haley said at an event Tuesday morning in her hometown of Bamberg, South Carolina, referring to Trump's endorsement of a successor to Ronna McDaniel as chair of the Republican National Committee if she decides to step down in the coming days. "He's named who's going to be the new RNC chair. His daughter-in-law will be the co-chair, and he is making his campaign manager the officer that runs the party."

"Think about what’s happening right now," she continued. "Is that how you’re going to try and take an election?"

At a separate event later in the day, Haley said Trump is going to "try and continue to take the party so that it does what he wants it to do."

Republican presidential hopeful Nikki Haley speaks on Feb. 13, 2024, in Bamberg, S.C.Allison Joyce / AFP - Getty Images

Asked for comment Tuesday, Trump campaign spokesman Steven Cheung told NBC News, "Nikki ‘Braindead Birdbrain’ Haley reeks of desperation as it’s clear she knows she has no shot, and is now auditioning for a cable news contract when her 15 minutes are over. But not before she can squeeze every last dollar out of her Democrat benefactors."

NBC News has reached out to Haley's team for further comment on her remarks.

In a statement Monday, Trump endorsed Michael Whatley to be the next head of the Republican National Committee and said he supports his daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, for co-chair.

“I think my friend Michael Whatley should be the RNC’s next leader,” Trump said, adding that Whatley “has been with me from the beginning, has done a great job in his home state of North Carolina.”

Whatley serves as chairman of the North Carolina Republican Party and general counsel for the RNC. He previously served on the Trump-Pence campaign and transition team.

Lara Trump, the wife of Eric Trump, has much less political experience than Whatley. She assisted her father-in-law's 2016 and 2020 presidential campaigns and was an on-air contributor on Fox News.

During a Newsmax interview that aired Tuesday night, Lara Trump said that the RNC “needs to be the leanest, most lethal political fighting machine we’ve ever seen in American history."

She added that if elected to serve as co-chair she would ensure that "every single penny will go to the number one and the only job of the RNC — that is electing Donald J. Trump as president of the United States and saving this country."

In his Monday statement, Trump said he is also supporting Chris LaCivita, a senior adviser to his re-election campaign, to be the RNC's chief operating officer.

There have been recent signs that McDaniel could soon step down from the RNC leadership role she's held since January 2017, with The New York Times and The Associated Press among the news outlets reporting that she could leave her position after South Carolina holds its GOP primary on Feb. 24.

Trump, who has routinely made baseless claims that the last presidential election was "rigged" against him, has been charged by special counsel Jack Smith with unlawfully trying to overturn the 2020 election results. He faces similar charges in Fulton County, Georgia, and has pleaded not guilty in both cases.