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Responding to the letter from the former president’s lawyer Alex Cannon, RNC chief counsel Justin Riemer said that the committee “has every right” to use the Trump name.
Defending the practice, Mr Riemer said that the committee “has every right to refer to public figures as it engages in core, First Amendment-protected political speech, and it will continue to do so in pursuit of these common goals.”
The RNC lawyer said Mr Trump had in fact “reaffirmed” with RNC chair Ronna McDaniel over the weekend “that he approves of the RNC’s current use of his name in fundraising and other materials, including for our upcoming donor retreat event at Palm Beach at which we look forward to him participating.”
The response comes after Mr Trump’s counsel sent a cease-and-desist letter to Republican National Committee, the National Republican Congressional Committee, and the National Republican Senatorial Committee last week. The three units are the three largest entities within the GOP that raise money for campaigning.
According to Politico, the letter said the RNC and the congressional campaign arms must “immediately cease and desist the unauthorised use of President Donald J. Trump’s name, image and/or likeness in all fundraising, persuasion, and/or issue speech.”
The move comes amid rising tensions between Mr Trump and GOP leaders in Congress after 10 Republicans voted to impeach him in the House and seven Republican senators later voted to convict. Mr Trump was acquitted with 57 senators voting against him, 10 short of the super-majority threshold of 67 required to remove a president from office and – more pertinently in Mr Trump’s case – prevent them from running for office in future.
A Trump adviser told Politico that Mr Trump was enraged that his name and likeness had been used to raise money for organisations that would then help reelect Republican members of Congress who voted to impeach him.
Mr Trump has previously expressed his determination for vengeance over the impeachment proceedings, using his keynote speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference to ask supporters to “get rid” of the 17 Republican lawmakers who voted to impeach or convict him over the Capitol riots.