Donald Trump is not happy that the Republican Party does not purge members who have not remained completely loyal to him. And he's been doing more about it lately than he did when he channeled his anger by posting mean tweets.
Days ago, attorneys representing Trump took the extraordinary step of calling on the Republican National Committee (RNC) and other prominent GOP groups to stop using Trump's name and likeness. The RNC declined the request, citing Trump's status as a public figure, and Trump responded Monday night with a tweet-like statement urging supporters to give him something instead of the party.
"No money for RINOS," begins the statement, referring to an acronym for "Republicans only in the name", which for Trump means anyone who is not entirely loyal to him.
"All they do is hurt the Republican Party and our large electoral base – they will never lead us to greatness," she continues. “Submit your donation to Save America PAC at DonaldJTrump.com. We will bring everything back stronger than ever! "
He didn't create a party of his own, which is complicated and competitive, but Trump is trying to establish himself as a place where money should go for Republicans, as opposed to GOP committees pic.twitter.com/IPaiXTaIEy
– Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) March 9, 2021
On Tuesday, Trump released another statement stating that he "fully supports the Republican Party and key GOP committees," but added that "I do not support RINOs and fools and it is not their right to hold my likeness or use my image. " To collect donations. “He then repeated his request that supporters donate to him instead of the party.
"There is so much money being raised and completely wasted by people who do not have the interests of the GOP in mind," the statement said. "When you donate to our Save America PAC at DonaldJTrump.com, you are helping the America First movement and doing it right."
This was not the first time since Trump left office in which he asked his supporters to give him money in place of the Republican Party. He did the same during his February 28 speech as headlining the CPAC.
"There is only one way to add to our efforts to elect America's first Republican Conservatives and make America great again and that's through Save America PAC and donaldjtrump.com," he said.
Save America PAC is Trump's "Leadership PAC": a type of political committee formed by current or former elected officials that has relatively few restrictions on how donations can be handled. As a result, Trump may have more than political vengeance on his mind asking supporters to give him something instead of the Republican Party.
"If you are passing a lot of money on to yourself from a political committee, this is the way to go," Jordan Libowitz, Washington director of communications for Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics (CREW), told me in an interview.
Trump stews over the 17 Republicans who voted against him on his second impeachment
Trump's attorney's injunction came a day after Trump released a statement announcing that he would campaign for Senator Lisa Murkowski's (R-AK) primaries next year. Murkowski was one of seven Republican senators who voted last month to convict Trump of impeachment for inciting the Jan. 6 insurrection and is the only one of those senators standing for re-election and not retiring.
Trump beat Murkowski and said: "She represents her state badly and her country even worse. I don't know where other people will be next year, but I know where I'll be – in Alaska, where I'm fighting a disloyal and very bad senator. "
Although Trump has not pledged to run for president again in 2024, he has made it very clear that he plans to fight "disloyal" Republicans next year. Speaking to the CPAC, referring to the 17 Republicans in the House and Senate who voted either by name for his impeachment or conviction, he said, "Get rid of them all."
Trump gets to the heart of Mitt Romney, "Little Ben Sasse", Richard Burr, Bill Cassidy, Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, Pat Tomney and all of the House Republicans who voted for his impeachment – and concludes with Liz Cheney pic. twitter. com / Me5JvoIslq
– Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) February 28, 2021
Trump also had harsh words for Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, who voted in favor of Trump's acquittal but then immediately delivered a Senate speech denouncing him. And in the days after the CPAC, McConnell made it clear that he would stand by in his caucus the Republicans who are up for re-election next year, even if Trump fights them.
Libowitz said that while it is highly unusual for a former elected official like Trump to use his leadership PAC against his own party, he is not surprised that Trump does so.
"This is essentially the story of the Scorpion and the Frog, except it's the Grifter and the political party," he said. "I think it was a little naive to think that with ten, if not hundreds of millions of dollars on the table, he would become a team player."
Save America PAC is a lucrative business opportunity for Trump
Save America PAC has already proven to be an impressive fundraiser. Thanks largely to misleading emails, it raised $ 31.5 million in the weeks following election day. Donors were told the money would fund legal challenges, but a careful reading of the fine print showed that the money was largely raised for things like paying off campaign debts and funding Trump's post-presidency operation.
The PAC is still sitting on most of that money. Fundraising emails told donors they would vote in the Georgia runoff, but that never happened. And now Trump wants even more.
Trump says he is raising money to eradicate "RINOS". Whether he can purge the party of Republicans who are not loyal to him remains to be seen. One thing is for sure, PAC executive funding is one way Trump can continue to capitalize on his popularity with Republicans after activity on his properties slows down.
Call me crazy, but at times it almost seems like all of the business the hotel saw during the Trump years was aimed at gaining favor with its administration while enriching it personally … https: // t.co/L9MC9vGBJ2
– Robert Maguire (@RobertMaguire_) March 8, 2021
Libowitz explained to me that executive PACs have "very few restrictions" on the use of money. He expects "a lot of this money to go to Trump companies, and I have to imagine that this is only part of the streak."
Trump could use the money, for example, for events in his hotels. But there are other ways it could flow back to the former president.
"There aren't many constraints on travel expenses so he can rent his own plane for himself and pay for himself to fly around the country," Libowitz said. “He can pay very high sums to Ivanka and the rest of his family as a consultant to the PAC. He can rent office space for himself. "
Libowitz said he will believe Trump actually plans to use the leadership's PAC funds to help MAGA candidates if he sees it.
“I think the question is, is he the guy who has $ 100 million in the bank and then spends it to help others who couldn't turn around and help him, or is he the guy to find them a way to return that money to him and his closest allies? “Libowitz said. "Traditionally, Trump is the latter."
The Trump-RNC feud is remarkably one-sided
The RNC responded to the failure of Trump's attorneys with a letter insisting that he “has the right to relate to public figures when engaging in a key political speech protected by First Amendment, and will continue to do so in pursuit of these common goals, ”reports Politico. According to the Washington Post, the company moved part of its spring donor retreat to Trump's private Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida next month.
This RNC letter, penned by Chief Attorney Justin Riemer, states that RNC Chairs Ronna McDaniel and Trump “have a close relationship, and we understand that President Trump reaffirmed her over the weekend that he is the current one To approve use of his name by RNC for fundraisers and other materials, including our upcoming Palm Beach donor retreat event that we look forward to seeing him attend. "
Following Trump's statement on Tuesday night, McDaniel, Chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) Rick Scott, and Chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, Tom Emmer, released a statement praising Trump.
"The RNC, NRSC and NRCC are grateful for President Trump's past and future support," it said. “His powerful agenda has allowed us to break fundraising records and vote Republicans up and down. Together, we look forward to working with President Trump to regain our majorities in Congress and deliver results for the American people. "
But while the RNC wants people to believe that the argument with Trump really isn't a big deal, there are indications that it is.
As Forbes reporter Andrew Solender elaborated, the NRSC – another of the many GOP constituents who received injunctions – went without public disclosure of Trump a few days after news of the injunction became known. But that ended on Tuesday afternoon when an email was sent praising him.
A recent NRSC donation email: "Trump eliminated global terrorist threats. He fought for the safety of Americans, killing Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and Qasem Soleimani as they threatened the lives of Americans. Meanwhile, Joe Biden did only Dr. Seuss and a plastic potato track head. " pic.twitter.com/VM4CPFOgI3
– Eric Hananoki (@ehananoki) March 9, 2021
Regardless of how active Trump is in the fight against the Murkowskis of the world over the next year, Republican Party officials are now in the enviable position of preparing for a two-front war during a medium-term cycle of trying to recapture control through at least one of the two chambers of the Congress.
"Even if he doesn't spend (the leadership's PAC money), threatening to spend it on someone could be enough to reconcile him and get him to still show him respect," Libowitz said.