- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Congressional Republicans reacted with concern and a smattering of contempt Tuesday over former President Donald Trump’s call for Republican donors to funnel campaign cash to his super PAC instead of contributing to the party’s traditional fundraising arms.

“That was a new policy that he rolled out,” said House Minority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana. “Ultimately, President Trump’s going to decide what kind of role he wants to play in elections in the future. I know we’re focused on winning the House back.”

In a statement Monday night, Mr. Trump made an exclusive play for conservatives’ donations, placing his Save America PAC in direct competition with the House and Senate Republican campaign committees.

“No more money for RINOS,” said Mr. Trump, referring to “Republicans in name only.” “They do nothing but hurt the Republican Party and our great voting base — they will never lead us to greatness.”

He urged supporters, “Send your donation to Save America PAC at DonaldJTrump.com. We will bring it all back stronger than ever before!”

Sen. Rick Scott, Florida Republican and chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said Mr. Trump’s announcement doesn’t change his job of trying to reelect all incumbent Republicans.

“We’re continuing to fundraise at the NRSC,” Mr. Scott told reporters. “We had a great January. … I think people are helping [the NRSC] because they want to get the majority of the Senate back.”

Longtime Trump opponent Rep. Adam Kinzinger, Illinois Republican, tweeted of Mr. Trump’s announcement: “Trump demands loyalty and gives none. Statement of a man desperate for relevance but feeling the changing tides.”

The former president insisted late Tuesday that he fully supports “the Republican Party and important GOP Committees.”

“But I do not support RINOs and fools, and it is not their right to use my likeness or image to raise funds,” Mr. Trump said. “So much money is being raised and completely wasted by people that do not have the GOP’s best interests in mind. If you donate to our Save America PAC at DonaldJTrump.com, you are helping the America First movement and doing it right.”

Mr. Trump is eager to defeat Mr. Kinzinger and nine other House Republicans who voted for his second impeachment in January on a charge of inciting the riot at the U.S. Capitol.

He is also vowing to campaign against Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, the only Republican running for reelection in 2022 among the seven Republican senators who voted to convict him in his Senate trial.

Last weekend, Trump legal counsel Alex Cannon sent a cease-and-desist letter to the Republican National Committee, the NRSC and the National Republican Congressional Committee, telling them to stop using Mr. Trump’s name for fundraising.

But RNC Chief Counsel Justin Riemer responded Monday that the party organization “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 is grateful for the past and continued support President Trump has given to the committee and it looks forward to working with him to elect Republicans across the country,” Mr. Riemer wrote.

Hours later, Mr. Trump issued his call for donations to his PAC. 

Mr. Scalise said the Republican Party needs to stay focused on defeating House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, and her “socialist agenda.” He noted that the NRCC outraised the House Democrats’ fundraising committee in January.

“We’re going to keep working to get the House back and raise the money it takes to elect more good candidates,” Mr. Scalise said. “We’re going to continue fighting for hard working families, while they continue to promote a socialist agenda.”

The renewed feud between Mr. Trump and the three Republican fundraising committees comes less than two weeks after Mr. Scott downplayed talk of a Republican “civil war” at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference.

Mr. Trump has endorsed several Republicans for reelection, including Sens. Tim Scott of South Carolina, John Kennedy of Louisiana and John Boozman of Arkansas.

• Dave Boyer can be reached at dboyer@washingtontimes.com.

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