Republican Party says it will continue to use Trump name in fundraising appeals

FILE PHOTO: Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando
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By James Oliphant

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Republican Party intends to keep using former President Donald Trump's name in fundraising pitches and other materials, a lawyer for the party said on Monday, despite a cease-and-desist letter from Trump last week.

The letter sent by lawyers for Trump on Friday to the Republican National Committee, National Republican Congressional Campaign and National Republican Senate Campaign had ramped up tension between the two camps as Trump seeks to preserve his political viability post-election.

A Trump adviser said on Saturday that Trump was sensitive to the use of his name and likeness for branding purposes and was irked the three groups have supported Republican lawmakers who joined Democrats in voting to impeach him over the Jan. 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol by Trump supporters.

In a response letter, the Republican National Committee said that Trump "reaffirmed" to RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel over the weekend that he approves of the party's current use of his name, wrote Justin Riemer, the RNC's top lawyer.

The party also argued it had "every right to refer to public figures as it engages in core, First Amendment-protected political speech."

The letter indicated Trump would participate in the party's donor retreat scheduled for next month in Palm Beach, Florida, which is home to Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort.

A representative for Trump did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the letter.

But in a statement late on Monday, Trump declared: "No more money for RINOS," the acronym for the pejorative term "Republicans in Name Only."

"They do nothing but hurt the Republican Party and our great voting base — they will never lead us to Greatness," Trump said before urging supporters to donate to his own super PAC.

In an effort separate from the Republican Party, Trump is using his Save America super PAC to raise money in part to help handpicked Republican candidates in the 2022 congressional elections. Some of them are expected to challenge Republican incumbents whom Trump considers disloyal.

Still, Trump has committed to helping Republicans try to win back control of the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate in the 2022 elections that will be an early referendum on the leadership of Democratic President Joe Biden.

(Reporting by James Oliphant; Editing by Mary Milliken and Peter Cooney)