Former president Donald Trump’s lawyer sent cease-and-desist letters Friday to three prominent Republican fundraising organizations, demanding they no longer use his name and likeness on without his consent.
The letters went to the Republican National Committee, the National Republican Congressional Committee and the National Republican Senatorial Committee.
The move followed a message from the Republican National Committee last week for supporters to sign a thank you card for the former president.
Trump previously rejected the rumors of starting his own Patriot Party.
“We’re not starting new parties,” Trump said in a recent keynote speech at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference.
“You know, they kept saying, ‘He’s gonna start a brand new party.’ We have the Republican Party,” Trump continued. “It’s going to unite and be stronger than ever before. I am not starting a new party.”
Despite his GOP loyalty, Trump no longer wants Republican political organizations to use his name or likeness without his consent. The move helps to secure his rightful role as the top party leader even though no longer in office.
Following the Jan. 6 uprising at the U.S. Capitol, some top congressional leaders within the GOP establishment criticized or distanced themselves from Trump—including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and House Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney, R-Wyo.
The cease-and-desist may serve as a sort of symbolic snub to rein in any disloyalty from those hoping to squeeze him out of party politics.
On a more practical level, it helps ensure that donations made on his behalf go into accounts that the former president has direct control over. In his CPAC speech, Trump told supporters to donate to his Save America PAC or DonaldJTrump.com.
Rich Baris, the director of Big Data Poll, stated Trump’s instructions to donate to his website and PAC handed him leverage over the RNC. “If he wanted to, he could basically bankrupt them into submission.”
Trump’s change could also seek to better focus his control of support within the Republican Party.
Already, he has used his newly established office to begin sending out endorsements for candidates whose values align with his own.
Likewise, Trump has already noted his list of Republicans he plans to target in the 2022 midterms.
Among those is Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, who voted against Trump during his recent impeachment. Trump has even noted he would gladly travel the 5,000-miles to campaign against her.
Many continue to speculate that the former president’s current efforts serve as the prelude to a potential 2024 presidential campaign—about which Trump also hinted during the CPAC.
“I may even decide to beat them for a third time,” Trump said, acknowledging his democratic victories in 2016 and 2020.