Lara Trump Vows Largest-Ever Legal ‘Ballot Harvesting’ Operation if Elected RNC Co-Chair

Janice Hisle
By Janice Hisle
February 22, 2024Donald Trump
Lara Trump Vows Largest-Ever Legal ‘Ballot Harvesting’ Operation if Elected RNC Co-Chair
Lara Trump speaks at a VFW Hall in Beaufort, S.C., on Feb. 21, 2024. (Timothy A. Clary/AFP via Getty Images)

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C.–Lara Trump says efforts of “historic” proportions are needed to ensure that Republicans, including her father-in-law, former President Donald Trump, win the Nov. 5 election.

Ms. Trump says she is ready to take on that challenge if she becomes co-chair of the Republican National Committee (RNC), as President Trump has recommended.

In an exclusive interview with The Epoch Times before a Feb. 21 campaign stop, Ms. Trump declared: “We need to have the biggest legal ballot harvesting operation this country has ever seen.”

Ballot harvesting, which is legal in many states, allows people to deliver other voters’ absentee or mail-in ballots to election officials. Some fear this practice facilitates election fraud. Republicans have long frowned upon it; Democrats have taken advantage of it. “Whether or not they [Democrats] do it legally, that’s up for discussion,” Ms. Trump said.

In any case, Ms. Trump says it’s time for Republicans to start “attacking the game differently.”

Ms. Trump’s remarks to The Epoch Times, and later, to supporters, provided new insights about her vision for a revamped and reinvigorated RNC.

“It feels, for a long time, like the Democrats have been playing chess and we’ve been playing checkers,” she said. Her goal is for the Republican Party “to be the opposite, to be steps ahead of them, and on our toes, and ahead of the game, and facing forward the whole time.”

Ms. Trump, the wife of President Trump’s son, Eric, also advocates two other efforts that she says would be unprecedented.

Republicans need to be urged to vote early, not just on election day, as they typically have preferred, she said. She also wants to see the RNC’s program for training poll watchers expanded nationwide.

“They don’t just stand in the background and kind of keep an eye out and look around for things,” Ms. Trump said. “They physically can count how many ballots are coming in, and how many ballots are going out.”

Such measures are needed “to reassure people in a time like we’re in right now, where they really feel like there wasn’t something quite right about the 2020 election, and people still have a lot of unanswered questions,” she said.

Ms. Trump said that the RNC, which is suffering from depleted coffers and anemic fundraising, must restore trust among Republican donors.

“I’ve had family members of mine call me and say, ‘Hey, I just clicked on this to donate to the president … [and] I think it goes to the RNC, I don’t know if I trust that,’” she said. “That’s a problem.”

Especially since economic conditions are tough for many people right now, “whenever they donate, they think their money is going to support Donald Trump and support other ‘America First’ candidates for House and Senate, and that’s exactly what should happen,” she said.

Ms. Trump said that if she is elected RNC co-chair that would be her biggest role: to ensure that “their money is going to the things that they want to support.”

“Oftentimes,” she said, those donors “want to ensure that Donald Trump is reelected to become the 47th president.”

Suggestions that the Trump family is attempting some type of RNC takeover are “ridiculous,” she said.

Her father-in-law has often found that “the people who he trusts the most, to do the best jobs for him, are people within our own family,” she said. “And it’s because sometimes, those are the only people you can really trust.”

President Trump’s announcement that he endorsed her for one of the top RNC positions “has nothing to do with any sort of a ‘takeover’ of any variety,” Ms. Trump said. “This is really about reestablishing trust for the voters and the people who donate their money to the RNC.”

‘Army’ of Volunteers Sought

Besides donating money, the campaign is seeking people who can give of their time, Ms. Trump said, encouraging those interested to visit the former president’s website,

“We need to have an incredible ground game this election cycle in order to come out victorious,” she said.  The campaign needs “an army” of poll watchers, door-knockers, and ballot harvesters, she said. Ms. Trump also encouraged people to vote on the first day of early voting and then commit to driving more people to the polls every day afterward.

Based on primary election results and opinion polls thus far, President Trump appears poised to become the Republican nominee. That makes him “ahead of the Republican Party and the leader of this party,” Ms. Trump said.

“So this is an organization that should be 100 percent working for him,” she said. “I think there has to be a seamless bond between the [Trump] campaign and the RNC.”

NTD Photo
Former President Donald J. Trump speaks at an event organized by Trumpettes USA at the Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Fla., on Feb. 10, 2024. (Madalina Vasiliu/The Epoch Times)

Action After the Primary?

President Trump endorsed his son’s wife to co-chair the RNC on Feb. 12, after news of RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel’s possible upcoming resignation leaked.

Ms. McDaniel has stated that she would make a decision about her future after the South Carolina GOP primary, which is this Saturday.

If she steps down, President Trump has said he would like to see North Carolina GOP Chair Michael Whatley succeed Ms. McDaniel.

In advance of the primary, Ms. Trump made two Palmetto State campaign stops on behalf of her father-in-law. He is expected to handily beat his sole remaining well-known GOP contender, Nikki Haley, a former South Carolina governor and United Nations ambassador.

NTD Photo
Ronna McDaniel secures a fourth two-year term as Republican National Committee (RNC) chairwoman after a three-day meeting at a luxury resort in Dana Point, Calif., on Jan. 27, 2023. (Mei Li/The Epoch Times)

Trump’s Courage, Work Ethic Lauded

After speaking in Beaufort, Ms. Trump traveled about 70 miles to the Trump campaign’s South Carolina headquarters in North Charleston. There, she and U.S. Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.) spoke to about 150 people, mostly campaign volunteers, who crammed into a small room to hear from the two prominent GOP women.

A native South Carolinian, Ms. Mace said many in the audience probably know the arc of her life story that preceded her terms as a state legislator and, since 2021, as a congresswoman.

After dropping out of high school, she worked at a Waffle House restaurant. But in 1999, she became the first female graduate of The Citadel, a well-known senior military college in Charleston. That journey taught her about hard work and courage, two qualities she admires in President Trump.

“There’s only one man in this race today that has the work ethic to turn our nation around and that man is Donald J. Trump!” she said, as the crowd said his name along with her.

President Trump also is the only man who “has the courage to take on the bureaucracy, the secretaries, the agencies who spy on Americans, who call us extremists,” Ms. Mace said.

NTD Photo
FILE – Rep. Nancy Mace, R-S.C., speaks during a news conference about a cannabis reform bill she introduced, on Capitol Hill in Washington Nov. 15, 2021. (Jacquelyn Martin/AP Photo)

Ms. Mace pointed out that Democrat President Joe Biden and his supporters have labeled President Trump and his fans as threats to democracy. However, she countered by saying, “There is no bigger threat to democracy than having a wide-open border so that illegals can vote in our elections.”

The same can be said about “allowing these terrorists, who want to kill us, to just simply walk across the border … Joe Biden’s open border,” Ms. Mace said. “Literally using activist judges to throw your number-one political opponent off the ballot, that is a threat to democracy,” she added.

All of these are reasons why President Trump needs to win the election on Nov. 5, Ms. Mace said, before she introduced Ms. Trump, whom she described as a North Carolina gal who also loves South Carolina.

Haley versus Trump Showdown

As Ms. Trump made her way to the front of the room, she put her hand to her heart, signaling gratitude to the crowd that greeted her with a loud, 20-second-long cheer.

She noted that early voting ends on Feb. 22. Anyone who hasn’t voted by then must make sure they go to a polling place on Saturday because “we’re not leaving anything to chance,” Ms. Trump said.

President Trump holds a 25-point lead over Ms. Haley in the RealClearPolitics average of opinion polls for the South Carolina primary. Even if she suffers a humiliating loss in her home state, Ms. Haley has declared she will persist; she scheduled multiple campaign stops afterward.

Ms. Haley has been raking in more donations than President Trump; he and others criticize her for appealing to Democrat donors and voters. While some of leftist-leaning people have expressed genuine support for Ms. Haley, others have publicly stated their goal is to undermine President Trump’s candidacy and sabotage the Republican Party.

NTD Photo
Republican presidential candidate and former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley speaks during a campaign event at Clemson University in Clemson, S.C., on Feb. 20, 2024. (Madalina Vasiliu/The Epoch Times)

Meanwhile, President Trump has been saddled with a whopping $355 million court fine and other massive legal costs as he fights multiple civil and criminal cases against him. Some people theorize that Ms. Haley is biding her time; if President Trump stumbles over one of the hurdles he’s confronting, that could clear the way for her.

‘This Man Will Never Stop’

In her speech to supporters on Wednesday, President Trump’s daughter-in-law said that those who are “desperate to keep him out” of the presidential race or the White House face one problem: “Nothing they throw against him will succeed.”

“Though they try, they will fail, because this man will never stop, he will never give up. He will never stop fighting for what he knows is right. And what is right is to give this country back to the people,” Ms. Trump said, as the audience cheered and applauded; some shouted “Amen!”

Political enemies have attacked Donald Trump from every direction ever since he and his wife, Melania, first rode down a golden escalator in Trump Tower on June 16, 2015, and declared that he was running for president.

Skeptics thought it was “a joke” or a “publicity stunt,” his daughter-in-law recalled.

But then-candidate Donald Trump believed the nation needed him and “He knew this was his time,” Ms. Trump said.

As soon as he gave his speech announcing his presidential run, “he was saying the things that resonated with people,” and using common sense, Ms. Trump said.

“And despite the fact that he was a billionaire businessman from New York City, he connected with the American people,” his daughter-in-law said. “He started a movement in this country, the likes of which we’ve never seen: Make America Great Again, (MAGA) America first.”

Trump Cautioned Family

Before that history-changing escalator ride, “he actually sat down with our entire family,” Ms. Trump said, and he warned them about the consequences. She recalled him saying: “If I do what needs to be done for this country, believe me, they will come after us … all of us who are involved.”

The family responded: “Yeah, absolutely … What could go wrong here?” Ms. Trump’s audience chuckled at the irony, knowing that the family’s patriarch has faced two impeachments, four criminal indictments, and multiple civil cases seeking to bankrupt him and his real-estate empire.

Yet the attacks have largely backfired, only increasing the former president’s standing in opinion polls.

Last August, Georgia authorities who accused President Trump of conspiring to illegally overturn the 2020 election required him to have his mug shot taken, presumably to belittle him.

But something unexpected happened, Ms. Trump said: “People looked at that mug shot and they saw themselves in it.

“They saw the same system that hadn’t been working for them was working against this guy.”

That unforgettable image projected the message: “They really must want to keep him from going back in that White House,” she said.

Trump Mugshot
Booking photo of former President Donald Trump as he was booked and released on bond at the Fulton County Jail in Atlanta, Ga., on Aug. 24, 2023. (Fulton County Sheriff’s Office)

People are now looking back at President Trump’s first term and hoping for a second one because they are contrasting how life looked then versus now in America after three years of Democrat President Joe Biden’s administration.

President Trump clamped down on illegal immigration, boosting the nation’s economic engines and shutting off sources of funding for terrorist-supporting nations.

But, Ms. Trump said, “Possibly the greatest thing he did was expose what was going on, the rot at the core of Washington, D.C.”

Seeing President Biden take office after a hotly disputed 2020 election was difficult for the Trump family and for the nation, Ms. Trump said.

“But sometimes things don’t happen in our time, right? They happen in God’s time,” Ms. Trump said. “And I will tell you right now that I truly believe that we needed the past three years, we needed people to wake up. We needed people to see and understand what you get if you vote for people like Joe Biden.”

After taking office, President Biden reversed course on many of President Trump’s policies.

“People are awake right now, ladies and gentlemen,” she said, “and once you’re awake, you’re not going back to sleep.”

For her, that means she feels the need to step up and serve on the RNC if she is elected. She called that “something I never imagined that I would do.”

“But I also never imagined that America would be at this point, and really be so bad off … so I’m here to do whatever I can to ensure that we get this country back on track.”

The audience cheered and shouted, “Thank you!”

Ms. Trump spoke for about 20 minutes Wednesday without the aid of notes or a microphone. Her father-in-law, in recommending her for the RNC position, had said, “Lara is an extremely talented communicator and is dedicated to all that MAGA stands for.”

‘Fight Fire With Dynamite’

Ms. Trump told the audience that she knows many Republicans would rather see all states change their voting laws to require voter ID, paper ballots, and one-day voting on election day as a national holiday.

But until such reforms can be instituted, Republicans need to work within the systems that are now in place, she said.

“We’re not just gonna have to fight fire with fire. We’re gonna have to fight fire with dynamite,” she said, describing the initiatives that she is advocating.

If those steps are taken, people can “have so many votes banked for Donald Trump that it doesn’t matter how many 3 a.m. [ballot] dumps they have … Donald Trump will win!”

“We need to register voters at a historic pace. We have to legally ballot harvest everywhere we possibly can in this country. Because let me tell you, that’s what they’ve been doing on the other side,” she said.

Ms. Trump said she was thrilled to see the level of enthusiasm in the crowd.

“This is the energy, folks, it’s going to take to win,” she said as she thanked volunteers for their dedication.

Ms. Trump warned that the battle is an uphill one. In response to a question from an audience member, she replied that the RNC’s presidential campaign fund probably has only $5 million left right now.

Yet, she said, the Democrats’ coffers are stuffed with hundreds of millions of dollars.

“We need to raise about half a billion dollars between now and Nov. 5,” she told the crowd.

“So, we’ve got to make sure that people understand when they donate their money to the RNC, indeed it’s gonna go to causes that they care about,” she added.

The audience, undaunted by Ms. Trump’s description of the RNC’s current financial status, responded by chanting “Trump! Trump! Trump!”

From The Epoch Times

ntd newsletter icon
Sign up for NTD Daily
What you need to know, summarized in one email.
Stay informed with accurate news you can trust.
By registering for the newsletter, you agree to the Privacy Policy.