The Republican National Committee fired back at former President Donald Trump on Monday, saying it “has every right” to use his name for fundraising purposes after Trump sent a cease-and-desist letter to the GOP.
RNC chief counsel Justin Riemer wrote in a letter that the Republican Party “has every right to refer to public figures as it engages in core, First Amendment-protected political speech, and it will continue to do so in pursuit of these common goals.”
The letter from the RNC was addressed to Alex Cannon, the counsel for Trump’s Save America PAC.
Over the weekend, Trump’s attorneys sent letters to the RNC as well as its congressional campaign wings, the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee, demanding that they stop using his name and likeness in their fundraising efforts.
The Trump team’s letters requested that the GOP “immediately cease and desist the unauthorized use of President Donald J. Trump’s name, image and/or likeness in all fundraising, persuasion, and/or issue speech.”
Trump was reportedly furious to see his name being used in RNC fundraising emails, as some of the money could potentially be used to benefit the 10 House Republicans and seven Senate Republicans who voted to impeach him during his second impeachment trial in January. Trump has been known for decades to be touchy about how his name and brand are used.
Trump has already promised to campaign against one incumbent senator who voted for his impeachment and is up for re-election in 2022, Lisa Murkowski, saying he will even travel to her state of Alaska to campaign against her.
“I will not be endorsing, under any circumstances, the failed candidate from the great State of Alaska, Lisa Murkowski,” Trump told Politico. “She represents her state badly and her country even worse. I do not know where other people will be next year, but I know where I will be — in Alaska campaigning against a disloyal and very bad Senator.”
The fundraising skirmish between Trump and the RNC highlights the tensions between the Republican Party and the former president since he has left office.
The relationship between Trump and Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell has been particularly strained after McConnell placed blame on Trump for the Capitol riot, saying Trump’s “actions that preceded the riot were a disgraceful, disgraceful dereliction of duty.”
Afterwards, Trump excoriated McConnell, calling him a “political hack,” and declared that “if Republican Senators are going to stay with him, they will not win again.”
Last month, McConnell said he would “absolutely” support Trump if he were the party’s presidential nominee in 2024.
Despite the acrimony, the RNC expressed hope for a continued working relationship with the former president.
“The RNC is grateful for the past and continued support President Trump has given to the committee and it looks forward to working with him to elect Republicans across the country,” Riemer wrote.
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