Former President Donald Trump said Tuesday that he supports the Republican Party and its major fundraising organizations but still doubled down on his demand that “RINOs and fools” not use his name or likeness to raise campaign cash.
The two-pronged statement from Trump comes after the former president on Monday told his supporters “[n]o more money for RINOS” and to only donate to his Save America PAC. Trump had sent cease-and-desist letters to the Republican National Committee (RNC), National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) and the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) demanding that they no longer fundraise with his name or image.
But the RNC responding by saying it would continue to reference “public figures” in its pleas to donors. The NRSC and NRCC have so far remained silent on what amounts to an effort to redirect money from the top three national GOP electoral organizations to a political action committee that Trump controls.
TRUMP TELLS SUPPORTERS ‘NO MORE MONEY FOR RINOS’ AS HE BATTLES GOP OVER FUNDRAISING WITH HIS LIKENESS
“I fully support the Republican Party and important GOP Committees, but I do not support RINOs and fools, and it is not their right to use my likeness or image to raise funds,” Trump said in a statement Tuesday. “So much money is being raised and completely wasted by people that do not have the GOP’s best interests in mind.”
Trump then asked supporters to donate to his own PAC, saying that “you are helping the America First movement and doing it right. We will WIN, and we will WIN BIG! Our Country is being destroyed by the Democrats!”
Trump’s statement — voicing support for “important GOP committees” while simultaneously asking his supporters not to give to them — came as top congressional Republicans were downplaying concerns that Trump could handicap their efforts to retake the House and Senate.
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House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., was asked about Trump’s “cease and desist” demands during a press conference on Tuesday. He pointed out that the NRCC had more success than the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in January — although that was before Trump began telling his followers to donate only to his PAC.
“That was a new policy that he rolled out. Ultimately President Trump’s going to decide what kind of role he wants to play in elections in the future,” Scalise said. “I know we’re focused on winning the House back. And if you look the NRCC outraised the Democrats — the [DCCC] — in January.”
Scalise added: “And it shows you people recognize that Speaker Pelosi’s socialist agenda is bad for America and it’s way out of touch with the mainstream of this country. And we’re going to keep working to get the House back and raise the money it takes to elect more good candidates like [Rep.] Ashley Hinson, [R-Iowa], here who’s already a leader helping fight to reopen schools.”
Meanwhile, NRCC Chair Rep. Tom Emmer, R-Minn., told The Hill that he’s “not worried” about whether Republicans will have “the resources we need to win the majority.”
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House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., meanwhile simply told The Hill “no” when asked if he was concerned Trump could starve important GOP organizations like the NRCC for cash ahead of 2022.
McCarthy and the NRCC were largely credited for the fact that House Republicans vastly outperformed expectations in the 2020 elections. McCarthy and the House GOP campaign arm put an emphasis on candidate recruitment, which produced a historically diverse freshman class, including Reps. María Elvira Salazar, R-Fla., and Young Kim, R-Calif.
It remains to be seen what kind of effect Trump’s demand that followers donate only to him will have on fundraising for the NRCC, RNC, and NRSC. A significant dent in their coffers could pose a challenge for Republicans to keep up with Democrats in 2022.
Trump, meanwhile, has telegraphed that he will be supporting primary challenges against a number of incumbent Republicans, including Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska.
“I will not be endorsing, under any circumstances, the failed candidate from the great State of Alaska, Lisa Murkowski,” Trump said in a statement. “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.”
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He’s also set his sights on House Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., who last month survived a vote on whether to remove her from what is the third-ranking position in the House GOP. Donald Trump Jr., vocally supported the push, which was led by Trump ally Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla. Trump Jr., doubled down on his calls for Cheney to be primaried in 2022 during his speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).
Trump Jr. after his CPAC speech also told Fox News that there are “plenty” of Republican senators who he would support backing primary challenges against, but left the naming of specific candidates up to his father.
Republicans currently are the minority in a 50-50 Senate because Vice President Kamala Harris is able to break tie votes. And they are a very slim minority in the House. This combination of factors has stoked optimism that Republicans will be able to retake Congress in 2022, giving them more effective levers to stop President Biden’s agenda.