The Republican National Committee (RNC) has moved a portion of its spring donor retreat program to former President Donald Trump’s exclusive Mar-a-Lago club, according to a Republican attending the events and a letter from the committee’s chief counsel.
The move is a sign of Trump’s enduring and expanding clout within the Republican Party. The president was largely hands-off with the RNC while he was in the White House. That dynamic is changing as Trump gears up to reshape the party’s representation in the House and Senate via the 2022 election.
News of the move to Mar-a-Lago surfaced during a tiff between Trump and the RNC over the committee’s use of his name and likeness to raise funds. The RNC’s standard operating procedure is to back Republican incumbents and that includes the 10 GOP House members who Trump has vowed to defeat over their vote to impeach him.
Trump sent cease-and-desist letters to the RNC, the Republican National Senatorial Committee (NRSC) and the Republican National Congressional Committee (NRCC) demanding that the groups stop using his name to raise money. The RNC responded with a letter arguing that it “has every right” to use Trump’s name.
In a March 8 letter obtained by The Epoch Times, the RNC’s chief counsel, Justin Riemer, wrote that Trump and RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel enjoy a close relationship, alleging the former president over the weekend reaffirmed to her that he approves of the RNC’s current use of his name in fundraising and other materials, including for the Mar-a-Lago portion of the spring donor retreat.
Trump is scheduled to speak at the RNC’s spring donor retreat in April in Palm Beach, Florida, and has told McDaniel that he wants to continue raising money for the RNC even as he raises cash for his own pursuits, including backing challengers to Republican incumbents who voted for his impeachment.
Despite the letters, the RNC and others have continued to fundraise off of Trump’s name.
“CONGRATULATIONS! You have been selected as one of the FIRST to be invited to claim your Trump Legacy Membership,” the RNC wrote in one appeal on Sunday.
“We NEED 10,000 patriots who still stand with President Trump before midnight tonight,” “URGENT: TRUMP SUPPORTERS NEEDED,” added the National Republican Senatorial Committee Monday afternoon.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.