Trump tells RNC to Stop Using his Name

The ongoing codependency that is the Trump-GOP relationship.

President Donald J. Trump boards Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews, Md. Friday, July 10, 2020, en route to Miami International Airport in Miami
Official White House Photo by Tia Dufour

Politico reports: POLITICO Playbook: Scoop: Trump sends legal notice to GOP to stop using his name.

TRUMPS SENDS CEASE-AND-DESIST TO RNC, NRCC AND NRSC. Lawyers for former President DONALD TRUMP sent out cease-and-desist letters Friday to the three largest fundraising entities for the Republican Party — the RNC, NRCC and NRSC — for using his name and likeness on fundraising emails and merchandise, a Trump adviser tells Playbook.

Look, I am no expert on the legalities of this, but given that he is the former president, and therefore a public figure of historical significance, I wonder how much leeway he has here. If anything, there are a ton of public domain photos from the White House photographer that I don’t think can be blocked for use. Granted, they can’t say he is endorsing something if he isn’t.

The weird part is going after the party’s umbrella organizations. Going after individual candidates he doesn’t like is another issue entirely. But, as usual, he continues to act like the caricature of a businessman that he is. It is an ongoing weird fusion of his vapid, celebrity-driven business model and exerting real influence (control may be too strong a word) on a major political party.

If he does actually make it difficult for the Republicans to use his name and likeness to raise money and to campaign in 2022, it will be just another example of him ultimately screwing the party.

There is a weird anti-synergy going on here: the GOP can’t seem to quit Trump, as they think (perhaps correctly) that they need him to motivate their base. At the same time, Trump remains a destructive force who really cares not one whit about the Republican Party save in ways that stroke his own ego. He is happy to get love from CPAC crowds and to be made to sound very important on the news, but he has no idea about building the party, nor does he care to learn.

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Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. CSK says:

    As I said to Michael Reynolds on the open forum, Trump just wants to control where the money goes.

  2. Michael Reynolds says:

    He (or the party) who rides a tiger is afraid to dismount.

  3. dazedandconfused says:

    He’s never bashful about establishing dominance. I expect the Rs to cave on this issue too. The base controls the nomination process so those in R-safe districts need Trump’s approval far more than they need well-funded campaigns.

  4. Sleeping Dog says:

    The R’s should offer to change the name of the party to TRUMP! He’d love that idea.

    I suspect that the former guy has lost control of his name, at least with regard to the presidency and politics. The R’s are really in an abusive relationship. Hit me again Daddy, only harder this time. LoL

  5. Deathcar2000 says:

    All I read about is Trump(tm) being the leader of the Republican party, just don’t use his name on any Republican email or Republican related issues concerning pulling cash from the rubes. Looks like Trump(tm) is only out for numero uno, which is Trump(tm), crazy stuff.

  6. CSK says:

    One great problem is that the rubes think that Donald Trump is the only one who cares about them.
    According to them, he loves and respects hard-working blue collar people because he understands how essential they are to his construction business.

    Apparently they shut their eyes firmly to the fact that Trump has a forty plus year history of stiffing small contractors.

  7. Deathcar2000 says:

    The shocking part of is he able to show the common folks he’s just like them by playing a Scrooge McDuck or Ritchie Rich caricature. When he was interviewed on Lifestyles of the rich and famous in the 90’s and was going on about his gold toilets, just like we’ve been all guilty of am I right. Not just gold colored but I imagine gold plated. It was such a every man moment of working class struggle we all face, just like those West Virginia coal workers.

    I will never see the appeal. Never. Ugly man ugly toilets. I won’t miss him.

  8. Jim Brown 32 says:

    This is merely to make sure he gets his desired cut of money from those organizations.

    They can use his likeness all they like…as long as he gets his cut of the donations. The C&D is just to establish leverage for the final deal.

  9. CSK says:

    I think the appeal is that Trump such a crude oaf. That makes him one of “the real people,” although frankly it doesn’t say much for them that they identify with a guy who’s first and foremost a churl. They call him “the blue collar billionaire.”

    Sarah Palin’s great appeal to the same crowd was the fact that she couldn’t speak proper English, or effected not to do so.

  10. gVOR08 says:

    My first thought was that certainly the pictures of Trump are public domain. But the legalities don’t matter. If he refuses permission or demands royalties, the RXXX committees will cave. And I’m OK with that, because:

    Everything Trump Touches Dies.

  11. DrDaveT says:

    The Republican Party has an autoimmune disease. There are effective treatments available, but risk of fatal infection is a known side-effect.

  12. MarkedMan says:

    This story made me very happy. Let the Jim Crow Party destroy itself from within for the next 4 years. We can get a lot accomplished if the sane party controls both branches and the presidency.

  13. Gustopher says:

    I wish they would all cease and desist.

  14. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: True, but Trump only stiffed the ones he thought didn’t deserve to get paid. Eric explained all that. And who wouldn’t want to have the situation of not having to pay people who didn’t deserve it? That’s perfectly reasonable. It’s only liberalism that makes it so the everybody has to be paid whether they deserve it or not. Adam Smith certainly didn’t believe in that.

  15. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    The percent of subcontractors who didn’t deserve, in Trump’s estimation, to be paid probably approaches eighty. How odd that he should be so constantly shafted; I thought he prided himself on hiring only the best people.

  16. al Ameda says:

    He’s a dog, he’s marking the Republican Party as his territory. And of course about 80% of Republican legislators and public officials have no problem getting sprayed.

  17. Liberal Capitalist says:

    So, it’s his choice, right? He gets a cut of the action or no dice.

    Now on those school posters that show the presidents, #45 can just be referred to as “that asshole”.

  18. Liberal Capitalist says:

    On the other hand…

    If the GOP caves on this and accepts Trump saying this… Then every seated DEM from Pelosi on down should do the same. After all, think how many Dems are dragged through the mud as part of GOP fundraising.

    I don’t this will work out the way that Trump expects. His privacy ended when he became president, and his ability to block the use of his name (or block lawsuits via the US Atty office for that matter) ended when he became a private citizen again.

    He should ask all those GOP people to send him $$$ for royalties all those Trump flags on the back of pickup trucks still driving around in the south. He’d have better luck of collecting.