The Republican party has had a complicated relationship with Donald Trump since the November election, and especially since 10 House members voted to impeach him a second time and 7 Senators voted to convict. Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), the party’s leaders on Capitol Hill, have both made statements slamming Trump and blaming him for the events of January 6, yet the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) and the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), along with the Republican National Committee, continue to send endless (and annoying) fundraising appeals using Trump’s name and claiming unwavering support of Trump.
The fundraising appeals are completely transparent and insulting to the base, since it seems the “Big 3” Republican fundraising entities believe the base is too stupid to realize that these entities don’t support Trump and, in fact, raise money for the people who threw him under the bus.
Politico reported last week that although McCarthy made it seem that the two had made up after McCarthy made a trek to Mar-a-Lago in late January, that was simply McCarthy’s spin on the situation. McCarthy knows Trump is still the key to getting small dollar donors to open their wallets, and that to retake the House it’ll be necessary to have a united Republican party. One problem for McCarthy is that, as we’re all aware, Trump doesn’t forget the people who’ve burned him, and while he might go-along-to-get-along publicly, it’s exceedingly difficult to regain his trust. The other problem for McCarthy is that Trump is very protective of his name and isn’t happy when people make money off of it without his permission.
Trump and his new campaign team are also cracking down on the use of the president’s name for fundraising — a huge draw attracting small-dollar donors. Three sources told us that Trump, who made his fortune licensing his name, has felt burned and “abused” by the GOP bandying about his name to haul in money.
His team has conveyed that any Republican or GOP committee seeking to use it needs explicit approval, according to five sources familiar with the situation. One Trump adviser said they’ve been sending out cease-and-desists to faux PACs using Trump’s name to fundraise, among other demands to knock it off.
Among those people allegedly using Trump’s name to fundraise? McCarthy himself, who sent a fundraising email directing people to donate at “trumps-majority.com” on January 28, while he was in Florida with Trump. That website has since been taken down, with McCarthy’s people insisting it went up by mistake.
It seems that the message Trump tried to send McCarthy in January and the continued messages his team has sent informing GOP candidates and committees that they must receive explicit approval before using his name to fundraise didn’t sink in. As Politico reported Saturday:
On Friday, the RNC sent out two emails asking supporters to donate as a way to add their name to a “thank you” card for Trump. “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!” the email states. “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.” A follow-up email was sent hours later to “President Trump’s TOP supporters” warning of a deadline of 10 hours to get their names on the card.
Later Friday the RNC found out that Trump wasn’t limiting legal action to faux PACs using his name when they received a cease and desist letter from Trump’s attorneys. The cease and desist not only applies to using Trump’s name in emails but also his image, and also applies to using his name and/or image on merchandise. Probably to save time, Trump’s attorneys also sent cease and desist letters to the NRSC and the NRCC.
Predictably, those committees didn’t return Politico’s request for comment, but “GOP campaign types” told the publication that since Trump’s policies are so popular with the base (notice they couldn’t bring themselves to admit that Trump’s extremely popular personally with the base) that they can’t avoid bringing him up, and that Trump should be more of a team player in retaking Congress. One can assume that said comments were also made in a whiny voice.
A Trump adviser told Politico that Trump is working as a team player but just not ceding control to committees led by those who have stabbed him in the back on numerous occasions, saying:
“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 RNC, NRCC, and NRSC have to learn that they can’t have it both ways. The days of GOP establishment consultants pandering to the base but not really doing anything to move the needle are over.