Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel told CNN on Sunday that the committee could not pay former President Trump’s legal bills if he announced a bid for the White House in 2024.
The RNC’s executive committee confirmed last year that it was paying for certain legal fees “related to politically motivated legal actions taken against President Trump,” and in recent months the committee has funded Trump’s defense against investigations by Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr. D) and New York Attorney General Letitia James (D).
McDaniel told CNN’s Dana Bash that the committee “cannot pay legal bills for any announced candidate” after Bash asked her if the RNC would stop paying Trump’s legal bills if he ran for the White House again.
“We cannot pay legal bills for any candidate that is announced. So these are bills that came out of the Letitia James lawsuit that started while he was president,” McDaniel said. “It was voted by our executive committee for our former president that this was a politically motivated investigation and that is what it was.”
“But we cannot now make in-kind contributions to any candidate. He is the former president who is being attacked from every angle with lawsuits, and he has certainly raised more under the RNC than we have spent on these accounts,” she added.
Trump is reportedly considering announcing another candidate for president right after the midterm elections. The RNC has publicly maintained that it will remain neutral in the 2024 GOP nomination contest.
The Trump Organization stood trial last week in a criminal tax fraud case initially launched by Vance, who is no longer in office, alleging that the former president’s company evaded taxes and paid perks to some of its top executives collected over 15 years.
Allen Weisselberg, the Trump Organization’s former chief financial officer, pleaded guilty in August and agreed to testify as a star witness in the trial in exchange for a five-month sentence.
Trump also faces a civil lawsuit from James, who claims Trump’s company falsely inflated and deflated the value of assets for tax and insurance benefits.
Trump family members and many Republicans have denounced the investigation as a “witch hunt,” considering James’ mentions of investigating Trump at campaign events.
Axios reported Friday that Trump and his team are eyeing Nov. 14 as a possible launch day for his 2024 campaign, and Trump has publicly suggested he will make an announcement “very soon.”
When Bash asked if Trump would announce soon, McDaniel said she didn’t know.
“I don’t even know what I’m doing for Thanksgiving right now, let alone thinking about 2024,” McDaniel said.
– Updated at 12:15 p.m