Lawyers for former President Donald Trump sent out cease-and-desist letters Friday to at least three Republican organizations who have used his name and likeness in fundraising efforts, according to multiple reports.
The letters, first reported by Politico, were sent to the Republican National Committee, the National Republican Congressional Committee and the National Republican Senatorial Committee.
The development is further evidence that Trump is prepared to make war with the GOP establishment as he seeks to consolidate power.
A Trump adviser told Politico the notices were sent in an effort to stop GOP organizations from using Trump’s name and image on merchandise and in fundraising emails without his permission.
The news comes after an earlier reporting that Trump was apparently outraged that his name had been used by organizations that have helped Republicans who voted to impeach him earlier this year.
Republican organizations have been eager to pick up financial contributions from small donors ahead of next year’s midterm elections, and have been betting on Trump’s enduring lure to do that.
A Trump adviser defended the legal notices to Politico, saying that those seeking to use the former president’s name or image should seek Trump’s “explicit approval” first.
“President Trump remains committed to the Republican Party and electing America First conservatives, but that doesn’t give anyone – friend or foe – permission to use his likeness,” the adviser said.
According to the Associated Press, in a single hour last Thursday, the RNC, the House and Senate GOP campaign committees, and the Republican State Leadership Committee, appealed to supporters with urgent fundraising appeals that included references to Trump.
The NRSC had also warned this week that its “limited edition” T-shirts featuring Trump were nearly sold out.
Last week, Trump delivered remarks at the Conservative Political Action Conference that were supposed to be aimed at looking to the future of the conservative movement, but his speech, which relied on stale comebacks, instead appeared to focus primarily on airing vengeful grievances.
At that time he reeled off a list of names of congressional Republicans who voted to impeach or convict him for inciting an insurrection at the Capitol on Jan. 6.
“Get rid of them all,” Trump said of his critics.
“There’s only one way to contribute to our efforts to elect ‘America First’ Republican conservatives and, in turn, to make America great again,” he added, suggesting that through his political action committee and websites alone, conservatives could advance their vision.
The former president’s efforts to make war with the Republican establishment have not stopped with its money-generating arm, however. His attack on the GOP establishment also took the form of venom against the right-leaning Wall Street Journal on Thursday after the publication’s editorial board appeared to fault him for the loss of the Senate majority during Georgia’s Senate runoffs in January.
“They fight for RINOS that have so badly hurt the Republican Party,” Trump said, suggesting amid the WSJ’s biting critique of him that the paper had “lost great credibility.”