Former President Donald Trump fully intends to be an active participant in Republican Party politics in the next election cycle — but that participation will be solely on his terms, as his lawyers just made clear.
According to The Hill, Trump’s attorneys sent cease and desist letters Friday to three major Republican fundraising groups demanding that they abruptly end their practices of using his name and likeness to raise money without his express permission.
The Republican National Committee (RNC), the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), and National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) — the three largest and most prominent fundraising entities for the GOP — were each ordered by the former president’s lawyers to stop mentioning Trump in their fundraising emails and in merchandise for sale, The Hill reported.
“Friend or foe”
The cease and desist letters were first revealed by Politico‘s Playbook. The outlet alleged that the former president was “furious” that his name and image had been used, without his consent, in recent fundraising emails from the RNC that sought to solicit donations for the GOP and all of its members — even those who Trump isn’t a fan of.
An unnamed Trump adviser reportedly indicated that the former president would make the same demands of a “friend or foe,” however.
“President Trump remains committed to the Republican Party and electing America First conservatives, but that doesn’t give anyone — friend or foe — permission to use his likeness without explicit approval,” the adviser told Politico.
Neither Politico nor The Hill could reach representatives for the three Republican committees for comment.
Some of Trump’s detractors may try to seize upon the latest development to fuel a conspiracy theory that suggests the former president is in the process of extricating himself from the GOP and launching a third party that is more in line with his populist “America First” agenda.
But that doesn’t appear to be the case, according to the Washington Examiner, which independently verified the existence of the cease and desist letters through a spokesperson for Trump.
Indeed, far from Trump exiting the Republican Party, this move bears all the hallmarks of him exerting even more control over the GOP. What’s more, Trump explicitly dismissed rumors that he would be starting a third party during a speech at the recent Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Florida, the Examiner noted.
“We’re not starting new parties. You know, they kept saying, ‘He’s gonna start a brand new party.’ We have the Republican Party. It’s going to unite and be stronger than ever before. I am not starting a new party,” Trump said at CPAC, according to the Examiner.
Still, Trump made clear that he would be picky about which members of the Republican Party he would grant his support to in the coming years — and with this move, it looks like he’s making good on that promise.