RNC Relocates Part Of Donor Retreat To Mar-a-Lago After Cease-And-Desist Spat

WEST PALM BEACH, FLORIDA - APRIL 03: President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort is seen on April 03, 2019 in West Palm Beach, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
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March 8, 2021 6:55 p.m.

The Republican National Committee decided to relocate part of its spring donor retreat next month to Mar-a-Lago — a move made just days after lawyers for former President Trump sent cease-and-desist letters to three GOP organizations, including the RNC, to stop fundraising off of Trump’s name.

The Washington Post reported Monday that although the RNC’s donor retreat in early April will take place at a luxury hotel in Palm Beach as usual, the RNC relocated the event’s Saturday evening portion to Mar-a-Lago to accommodate Trump and guests who would like to visit the site.

According to the Post, the national party plans to sign a contract with Mar-a-Lago to host the event and will pay Trump’s resort for the use of the facilities and meals. An unnamed Republican involved in the planning told the Post that it’s easier to coordinate the large event, which involves Secret Service logistics, at Mar-a-Lago. Additionally, the source told the Post that many GOP donors are fond of visiting the former President’s post-presidency residence as well.

At least 350 people are reportedly seeking to attend Trump’s speech, which an official told the Post is the largest of any session of the retreat. Other scheduled speakers such as Trump allies Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will deliver remarks at the main hotel that will host most of the RNC’s donor retreat.

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The RNC’s move to relocate part of its spring donor retreat to Mar-a-Lago was reported amid the committee’s top lawyer denying the cease-and-desist demand from Trump’s lawyers, according to Politico on Monday.

In a letter obtained by Politico that was sent Monday afternoon to Trump attorney Alex Cannon, RNC chief counsel Justin Riemer wrote 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.”

However, both Politico and the Post reported that RNC chair Ronna McDaniel appeared to get the green light from Trump to continue fundraising off of the former president’s likeness.

According to the Post, McDaniel and Trump spoke last weekend to address the former president’s cease-and-desist demand. McDaniel reportedly told Trump that the GOP wants to tout the former president’s accomplishments, and argued that the party continuing to use Trump’s likeness will work to the former president’s advantage as well.

Reimer also wrote in a letter sent to Trump’s PAC on Monday that Trump “reaffirmed” that he “approves of the RNC’s current use of his name in fundraising and other materials,” following the former president’s conversation with the RNC chair last weekend, according to copies obtained by Politico and the Post.

Politico reported that the RNC chief counsel wrote that the committee “looks forward” to Trump’s participation in its upcoming spring donor retreat.

“The RNC has not sent any fundraising requests in President Trump’s name or used his image since before he left office, nor would it do so without his prior approval,” Reimer wrote, according to the Post.

Reports of the RNC spring donor retreat’s partial relocation to Mar-a-Lago and the drama over Trump cease-and-desist demands come on the heels of the former president declaring his loyalty to the GOP during his remarks at CPAC last month. Trump allies in Congress have continued to express their undying loyalty to the former president, which includes peddling Trump’s election fraud falsehoods well after the former president left office in January.

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