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GOP praises Trump after urging Republican donors to ship cash on to him

Republican National Committee chairman Ronna McDaniel [right] and White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany hold a press conference Monday at the RNC on Capitol Hill to discuss Pennsylvania litigation and provide an overview of the post-election landscape , November 9, 2020.

Tom Williams | CQ Roll Call, Inc. | Getty Images

The leaders of three leading Republican Party committees on Wednesday praised former President Donald Trump for pledging his support, despite Trump actively encouraging GOP donors to send their money directly to him.

The response from the committees was the latest indication that the GOP remains firmly in the grip of the former president, even as he crushes prominent party members who have criticized him.

"We look forward to working with President Trump to regain our majorities in Congress and deliver results for the American people," said a joint statement by Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel, and National Republican Senatorial Committee Chair Rick Scott, and the Chairman of the Republican National Congress Committee, Tom Emmer.

"The RNC, the NRSC and the NRCC are grateful for President Trump's past and future support," the statement said. "His powerful agenda has allowed us to break fundraising records and vote Republicans up and down."

Trump, who finds overwhelming support among GOP voters even after losing his re-election bid, has discouraged Republicans from sending money to "people who do not have the interests of the GOP in mind".

These people, according to Trump, are an unspecified group of "fools" and "RINOs" – a derogatory term that means "Republicans only in their names".

Trump instead steers people towards his own political action committee, Save America. Donations to this committee, known as the Leadership PAC, can potentially be used to pay for all kinds of personal expenses.

Since his loss to President Joe Biden, Trump has fought numerous top Republicans, including Mitch McConnell, chairman of the Senate minority, and Liz Cheney, chair of the House Republican Conference. He has further spread the unsubstantiated conspiracy theories and lies about election fraud that have banned him from social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook.

Over the past month, Trump has repeatedly claimed that there is "only one way" to keep the so-called America First movement alive – by contributing to his Save America PAC and through his website.

In his most recent statement on Tuesday night, Trump said, "I fully support the Republican Party and key GOP committees, but I do not support RINOs and fools."

That statement claimed that by making a donation to Save America, you are "helping the America First movement and getting it right".

Trump's PAC has reportedly raised tens of millions of dollars since its inception following the November 3 election. That money can be used for "almost anything" Trump wants, experts say – including providing benefits to himself and his family.

"It is entirely possible that Trump could use Save America to maintain control and influence over the Republican Party and to personally help himself and his family members," Brendan Fischer, director of federal reform programs at the Campaign Legal Center, told CNBC.

At the same time that Trump is pushing his own PAC, he is demanding that the GOP no longer use his name and its likeness in their own fundraising drives.

Trump's attorneys sent cease and desist letters to the three GOP committees last week. On Monday, RNC chief attorney J. Justin Riemer denied Trump's request, saying the organization had "the right to relate to public figures … and will continue to do so in pursuit of these common goals."

Wednesday's statement by the RNC, NRSC and NRCC appeared to show that the GOP remains willing to include Trump's brand in its fundraising messages.

Trump and the RNC raised hundreds of millions of dollars in the 2020 election cycle and more than $ 200 million in the weeks before and after the election as Trump aggressively propagated conspiracy theories about electoral fraud.

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