Republican leaders who worry that Donald Trump could hurt their midterm chances by announcing a presidential run too soon are hoping he’ll be dissuaded from doing so by the prospect of losing hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal payments, according to an RNC official.
Since October 2021, the Republican National Committee has paid nearly $2 million to law firms representing Trump as part of his defense against personal litigation and government investigations.
But an RNC official told ABC News that as soon as Trump would announce he is running for president, the payments would stop because the party has a “neutrality policy” that prohibits it from taking sides in the presidential primary.
In January, RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel said, “The party has to stay neutral.”
“I’m not telling anybody to run or not to run in 2024,” she added. However she has since reaffirmed that Trump “still leads the party.”
RNC officials would not comment on the record for this story. Representatives for Trump also declined to comment.
This isn’t the first time that legal bills have been seen as possible leverage over Trump.