Donald Trump’s daughter-in-law becomes cochair of the Republican National Committee

Author: Trudy Ring

The Republican Party is now more than ever the Donald Trump party, with Friday’s election of ally Michael Whatley and the former president’s daughter-in-law Lara Trump as chair and cochair, respectively, of the Republican National Committee.

They replace Ronna Romney McDaniel, the niece of U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney. Donald Trump and his partisans saw McDaniel as insufficiently supportive, plus her uncle has often criticized Trump.

Lara Trump has been married to Eric Trump, Donald’s middle son, since 2014. During her father-in-law’s presidential campaigns, she has worked on outreach to LGBTQ+ people and other minority groups. In that capacity, she has often falsely asserted that the candidate was committed to inclusivity.

“Donald Trump has never cared about how you look, he’s never cared about your gender, your religion, or who you love,” she said at an event in 2020. “Donald Trump is fighting for every single American, period.”

That statement ignores Donald Trump’s transgender military ban, his endorsement of numerous “license to discriminate” policies, his failure to back the Equality Act, his attempt to ban Muslims from immigrating to the U.S., and his frequent disparagement of women (including a jury’s finding that he was liable for the sexual abuse of E. Jean Carroll).

In an equally untrue claim, she has called Donald Trump “the most pro-gay president in American history.”

At a so-called Trump Pride event in 2020, Lara Trump again painted Donald as an LGBTQ+ ally, saying, “Donald Trump led the way [for] the campaign for decriminalizing homosexuality around the world, the only president to do that, ladies and gentlemen.”

But “the Obama administration began this effort,” the GLAAD Accountability Project points out. “The Trump administration’s effort was described as nothing more than ‘self-promoting Twitter photos’ and led to no advances that can be credited to the administration. … Trump himself was unfamiliar with it when asked. Trump-appointed UN Ambassador Nikki Haley oversaw a vote against a decriminalization resolution.”

Mother Jones lampooned Lara Trump’s lack of qualifications to lead the RNC in a post sarcastically titled “Lara Trump is all about meritocracy.” Before she married Eric Trump, the publication notes, she “was a dabbler,” having interned at TV stations, gone to culinary school, marketed erotic cakes, and worked as a personal trainer. Her marriage “launched her into the world of Fox News, political campaigns, and on Friday, the top post at the Republican National Committee,” Mother Jones continues.

Whatley has a lower profile than Lara Trump, at least outside North Carolina. But there he’s a prominent activist who chairs the state Republican Party. He’s also well known by Republican insiders nationwide.

He got his start in politics as a volunteer for virulently homophobic U.S. Sen. Jesse Helms of North Carolina in 1984, when Whatley was a sophomore in high school, The Washington Post reports. In 2000, he was on the legal team for George W. Bush’s presidential campaign and worked on the battle over the Florida recount, in which a Supreme Court decision handed a victory to Bush. He then worked in the U.S. Department of Energy and as chief of staff to U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole of North Carolina. Later he became a lobbyist, primarily representing energy firms.

In 2015, he returned to North Carolina and became an early supporter of Donald Trump’s presidential ambitions. He assisted in setting up the administration after Trump was elected. He became North Carolina Republican chairman in 2019 after the previous chairman, Robert Hayes, was involved in a bribery scandal. Whatley has helped Republicans win supermajorities in both chambers of the state legislature; there, they’ve passed much anti-LGBTQ+ legislation, often overriding Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s vetoes. He has also echoed Trump’s claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from him.

Recently, Whatley congratulated the state’s Republican nominee for governor in 2024 — Mark Robinson, currently the lieutenant governor, who has called LGBTQ+ people “filth” and denied that the Holocaust took place. “North Carolina voters have delivered a resounding message that they want change in the Governor’s Mansion and Mark Robinson is ready to deliver it!” he wrote on X.

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Original Article on The Advocate
Author: Trudy Ring

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