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WASHINGTON: Republican Party chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said on Monday she was stepping down in a leadership shakeup nine months before the US presidential election, following pressure from the party’s likely 2024 nominee Donald Trump.

The move reflected the former President Trump’s sway over the party as he prepares for a likely rematch with Democratic President Joe Biden in November.

After a meeting with McDaniel early in February, Trump wrote on social media that he would be pushing for changes at the Republican National Committee (RNC) after South Carolina’s primary on Saturday, which he handily won over the state’s former governor, Nikki Haley.

Two weeks ago, Trump endorsed North Carolina Republican Party Chair Michael Whatley as the next RNC chair and his daughter-in-law Lara Trump as co-chair, moving to cement his grip over the organization.

Whatley has repeated Trump’s false claims of fraud in the 2020 election, according to a CNN report.

“The RNC has historically undergone change once we have a nominee and it has always been my intention to honor that tradition. I remain committed to winning back the White House and electing Republicans up and down the ballot in November,” McDaniel said in a statement.

She thanked Trump and said the move would be effective at the RNC’s spring meeting on March 8, three days after Super Tuesday Republican nominating contests in 15 states and one US territory. RNC co-chair Drew McKissick also said he would step down.

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