The Republican National Committee (RNC) on Monday dismissed a cease-and-desist letter from former President Trump’s attorneys, arguing that the GOP campaign arm has the right to use Trump’s name in its fundraising efforts.
The letter from RNC chief counsel Justin Riemer says the GOP “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 was sent to Alex Cannon, the counsel for Trump’s Save America PAC, which sent a cease-and-desist letter to the RNC, the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) and the National Republican Congressional Committee over the weekend demanding the groups stop using Trump’s name in their fundraising appeals.
That letter said the RNC and the congressional campaign arms must “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.”
That move comes amid tensions between Trump and GOP leaders in Congress after 10 House Republicans and seven Senate Republicans voted to impeach him.
The former president has vowed to retaliate against the Republicans he views as insufficiently loyal.
Trump and his allies have built up a considerable grassroots fundraising machine, and the former president’s name is a valuable asset for his PACs and across the GOP campaign committees.
Many suspected that Trump would cut off the NRSC to spite Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who has urged the party to move on from Trump.
But Trump’s broad cease-and-desist letter, which would impact allies such as RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), suggests a broader effort by Trump to exert control over the party.
The RNC's letter notes the “close” relationship between Trump and McDaniel and contends that Trump personally approved the RNC’s use of his name for fundraising, including for the upcoming donor retreat in Palm Beach, Fla., where Trump is expected to speak.