Former president Donald Trump is threatening legal action against various Republican Party organizations on Friday surrounding the unauthorized use of his image on fundraising materials.
The 45th president’s attorneys sent cease-and-desist letters to the Republican National Committee (RNC), National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), and National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) telling the groups to stop “using his name and likeness” in emails and on merchandise, according to an anonymous Trump adviser cited by Politico.
“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 unnamed adviser told reporter Tara Palmeri.
On Friday, the RNC sent the following message to their email list:
President Trump will ALWAYS stand up for the American People, and I just thought of the perfect way for you to show that you support him! As one of President Trump’s MOST LOYAL supporters, I think that YOU, deserve the great honor of adding your name to the Official Trump ‘Thank You’ Card.
The party committees have frequently referenced the ex-president knowing full well that he remains beloved by large segments of the GOP base, particularly the donor class.
Meanwhile, several high-profile Republicans, former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley chief among them, have moved to distance the party from the Trump era. Haley quickly reprimanded Trump for the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol Complex and explicitly said it was time for the GOP to move on. She then flip-flopped and praised Trump earlier this week. Before that, in what was viewed as a rebuke to Haley’s offer of peace, Trump dismissed a sit-down request from his former United Nations ambassador.
It’s no surprise then that the institutional GOP intended to keep the money spigot flowing with references to Trump in party committee emails.
Those committees are instrumental in the GOP’s efforts to recruit, message and raise money for the 2022 midterm elections—elections in which Trump has signaled he intends to personally play a role.
Last Sunday, Trump was the main event at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).
During his keynote speech, the former president made clear that he was sticking with the Republican Party—while insisting that it had some housecleaning to do.
“The Democrats don’t have grandstanders like Mitt Romney, little Ben Sasse, Richard Burr, Bill Cassidy, Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, Pat Toomey.”
Each of the named GOP senators voted for Trump’s impeachment in the U.S. Senate. Each of the senators was booed in turn at the event.
And, for that infraction, the leader of the MAGA set wants them all gone.
After moving on to members of the U.S. House of Representatives, some of whom were ridiculed with asides, Trump returned to one of his favorite enemies.
“And of course, the warmonger, a person that loves seeing our troops fighting, Liz Cheney. How about that?” Trump asked of his adoring crowd, “The good news is in her state she’s been censured. And in her state, her poll numbers have dropped faster than any human being I’ve ever seen.”
“So hopefully they’ll get rid of her with the next election,” he added. “Get rid of them all.”
With Friday’s legal threat, Trump has signaled that he intends to pick fights at his leisure to let the party know they can’t just embrace the money he provides, they’ll have to embrace him personally as well.
[image via ALEX EDELMAN_AFP via Getty Images]
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