Top Republicans seek to tamp down concerns over Trump's funding demands

Top Republicans in the House are seeking to brush aside concerns that former President TrumpDonald TrumpJan. 6 panel faces double-edged sword with Alex Jones, Roger Stone Trump goes after Woodward, Costa over China Republicans seem set to win the midterms — unless they defeat themselves MORE's recent fundraising-related demands could hinder their chances of taking back the House.

Trump sent cease-and-desist letters on Friday to the Republican National Committee (RNC), the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) calling on party leaders to stop using his image and likeness for fundraising purposes. His request was rebuffed by the RNC on Monday in a letter stating that it “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."

Despite Trump’s repeated calls for donors to give money to the Save America PAC instead of GOP lawmakers he’s dubbed Republicans in name only (RINOs) — namely those who have criticized him or voted to impeach him for inciting the deadly riot at the Capitol on Jan. 6 — senior Republicans say they don’t see his push as detrimental to their 2022 campaign efforts. 

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House Minority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseThe GOP's post-1/6 playbook is clear — and it's dangerous House GOP seek to block Biden from reopening Palestinian mission in Jerusalem Hillicon Valley — Biden signs telecom security bill MORE (R-La.) highlighted that the NRCC outperformed the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) in January, stating he’s hopeful that success will continue.

“That was a new policy he rolled out, ultimately President Trump is going to decide what kind of role he wants to play in elections in the future. We're focused on winning the House back. And if you look the NRCC outraised the Democrats, the DCCC in January,” he said Tuesday.

The Louisiana Republican said that it’s ultimately individual donors’ decisions as to where they direct their money, but that he would like to see donations continue to pour into the NRCC and Republican members’ campaign PACs. 

“However people make their own decisions of who they're going to donate to is their business. I continue to encourage people to donate to House Republican causes because people recognize we have a great chance to take back the House and they see how far left Speaker Pelosi has moved their socialist agenda and they're very concerned about it and they're giving in large amounts because they don't want to see us become a socialist nation,” Scalise told reporters.

NRCC Chairman Tom EmmerThomas (Tom) Earl EmmerGOP blaming Democrats for 'chaos' in new ad The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Did Democrats misread voters' 2020 call for change? Democrats brace for flood of retirements after Virginia rout MORE (R-Minn.) asserted that he’s confident they will bring in what’s needed to pick up seats.

"We're gonna have the resources we need to win the majority, I'm not worried about that," he told The Hill in an interview on Monday.

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It's unclear the level of involvement the former president will have in hitting the campaign trail to help GOP House members, but Emmer said he does see Trump playing a role in helping their efforts in taking back the House in. 

"You'll have to ask him what he's going to do. I mean, I saw his speech at CPAC [the Conservative Political Action Conference] and he's going to continue to be involved. Let's face it, he'll be a force in this country and in the political landscape regardless. He was before he became president and I imagine he's going to continue that way," he said.

"In the meantime, Republicans in the House are absolutely united on our mission of finishing what we started and that's to win back a Republican majority in 2022, and then to make it a lasting majority.”

And House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyWith extreme gerrymanders locking in, Biden needs to make democracy preservation job one Greene: McCarthy 'doesn't have the full support to be Speaker' Christie: McCarthy, not Trump, will be the next Speaker MORE (R-Calif.) said he isn’t worried about the impact it will have on the midterm elections.

“No [he’s not concerned it will impact their chances of flipping the House],” he told The Hill on Tuesday after asking how Emmer had responded to the question.

Multiple GOP lawmakers said they would like more clarity on the former president’s role moving forward as the party weighs how to proceed in the post-Trump era.

“I don't think it'll be problematic [for fundraising], I just think we need to get a clear definition moving forward of how he wants to be helpful. I think the Republican leaders need to sit down with President Trump and figure out a direction moving forward, we all want to be on the same team,” one GOP lawmaker said.

“Obviously, Trump's a popular former president with the Republican base so to help the Republicans flip the House, to help Republicans flip the Senate, we're going to need the support of President Trump and we just need to figure out what that support is.”

But some members argue Trump’s refusal to use his brand could have more of an impact on the GOP’s election success than leaders are letting on.

“Yeah [it could be problematic]. I mean, Donald Trump is the fountainhead of small-dollar donations on the political right. And, you know, he is someone who has built his career off of leveraging his brand, and I don't think he wants his brand leveraged for people who voted to impeach him,” one GOP lawmaker said, adding that they believe that Trump’s decision was motivated by the 10 GOP House members who voted to impeach.

Trump doubled down on his demand on Tuesday, releasing a statement 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. So much money is being raised and completely wasted by people that do not have the GOP’s best interests in mind.”

The move has been viewed as a slap in the face by some within the GOP, who argue he’s harming the party as a whole by going to war with his critics.

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“How the f--- can you say you want to be a team player and we're on the same team and then you do that — you know what I mean?" one senior member told The Hill.

“They want to raise as much money for themselves [as possible] — they don't want to have to share it. It's not team play, that's for damn sure."

But others argue it’s unlikely he can legally prevent Republicans from invoking him while trying to raise money.

“I don't know the legality of that but it seems silly — I know the RNC and the NRCC I'm sure know there are legal boundaries on it so I don't think he probably has a leg to stand on,” another Republican lawmaker said. “I don't know if he's getting bad advice — it doesn't make sense.”