Trump May Endorse a Tom Petty Cover Artist to Co-Chair the RNC: Report

Donald Trump is considering endorsing Lara Trump — his daughter-in-law and an aspiring singer-songwriter who recently released a cringe-worthy cover of Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down” — to co-chair the Republican National Committee, The New York Times reported on Monday.

The Times reported last week that Ronna McDaniel, the RNC’s current chairwoman, told Trump that she plans to step down from the position she’s held since 2017 after the South Carolina primary later this month. Trump is now expected to support Michael Whatley — the committee’s general counsel and a vocal pusher of the lie that Trump won the 2020 election — to replace McDaniel. His son Eric’s wife could land Trump’s endorsement for co-chair.

Lara Trump held various roles on Trump’s presidential runs in 2016 and 2020, including as a reliably sycophantic surrogate across right-wing media. Her media presence doesn’t include a ton of thoughtful policy discussion. Earlier this month, for example, she tried to claim on her show, “The Right View with Lara Trump,” that Trump is playing so much golf right now because he’s not going to have any time to once he reclaims the White House, because he’s going to be too busy “saving the country.”

TV hits aren’t uncommon for the RNC’s brass, but Lara Trump would also have to balance her duties as co-chair with a burgeoning singing career. She released a truly horrendous cover of Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down” earlier this year, largely branding the rip-off as her own song. Here she is serenading Australian television:

Lara Trump’s cover isn’t the only time the Trumps have tried to co-opt “I Won’t Back Down” as a MAGA anthem. Trump played it at a rally during his 2020 presidential run, and the Petty estate was pissed.

“Trump was in no way authorized to use this song to further a campaign that leaves too many Americans and common sense behind,” Petty’s estate said in a statement at the time. “Both the late Tom Petty and his family firmly stand against racism and discrimination of any kind. Tom Petty would never want a song of his used for a campaign of hate. He liked to bring people together.”

Maneuvering to install a singing family member atop the GOP’s fundraising and strategizing committee isn’t a particularly surprising move from a former president who favors loyalty above all else — as evinced by him bringing his daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner into his administration while he was in office. If he endorses Lara Trump and she’s elected, along with Whatley, it will be yet another sign that the Republican Party no longer serves any function outside of serving Trump’s quest for absolute power.

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