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National Review
National Review
17 Feb 2024
Brittany Bernstein

NextImg:Asa Hutchinson Suggests Next RNC Chair Should Vow Not to Fund Trump’s Legal Woes

Former Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson said Saturday the next head of the Republican National Committee (RNC) should promise not to pay former president Donald Trump’s legal fees, one day after a judge ordered Trump to pay more than $355 million in a New York civil case.

“No one should be leader of RNC unless they pledge not to use its limited resources to pay legal fees and judgements of Donald Trump,” said Hutchinson, who ended his longshot presidential bid last month. Current RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel has announced plans to step down shortly after the South Carolina primary on February 24. 

Trump’s fundraising committees spent nearly $3o million on the former president’s legal fees during the second half of 2023, according to federal election filings. And on Friday, a New York judge ordered Trump to pay $355 million for conspiring to change his net worth and the value of his assets to receive tax and insurance benefits.

In an earlier case, Trump was ordered to pay $83.3 million in damages after a jury found he had defamed and sexually abused journalist E. Jean Carroll.

Meanwhile, Trump recently endorsed his daughter-in-law Lara Trump and North Carolina GOP head Michael Whatley to co-chair the RNC. Lara Trump has vowed to spend “every single penny” of the RNC’s money to help reelect the former president if she is chosen to lead the committee.

Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley raised similar concerns during an appearance on CNN on Friday.

“My biggest issues is, I don’t want the RNC to become, you know, his legal defense fund,” Haley told CNN’s Kaitlan Collins. “I don’t want the RNC to become his piggy bank for his personal court cases.”

She suggested Trump is trying to “get control” of the RNC so that he can “continue to not have to pay his own legal fees.”

Haley warns any money spent on Trump’s legal fees is money the RNC should instead be spending on winning House and Senate elections.

“That’s the fear that every Republican should have, because we won’t win anything if he goes down that path,” Haley said.