Hours before Saturday night’s South Carolina Republican debate, the final faceoff before the state’s GOP primary contest, candidate Donald Trump accused the Republican National Committee of “illegally” using his name in a fundraising email sent to party supporters.
In a series of tweets and a press release on Saturday afternoon, the GOP front-runner accused the RNC of “deceptive Washington tricks” and said he never authorized the RNC to use his name in the fundraising pitch.
“The RNC, which is probably not on my side, just illegally put out a fundraising notice saying ‘Trump wants you to contribute to the RNC,'” his campaign said. “The RNC does not treat me well and then they use my name, without my knowledge, to raise money for themselves.” Trump said much the same in a tweet from his personal account.
The RNC didn’t respond to MSNBC’s request for comment. Communications director Sean Spicer told CNN that the email was in response to a straw poll that “allows supporters of all the candidates to help contribute to the presidential trust that ensures our nominee has the $23 million of the RNC funds to take on Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders.”
Trump, who often boasts of his self-funded campaign, said the committee has withdrawn the fundraising email.
In his campaign’s statement, he accused the committee of taking advantage of voters to “get money from the hard-working people the politicians have failed.”
Months after he launched his bid for the Oval Office, the billionaire flirted with the possibility of launching an independent campaign if the committee didn’t treat him “fairly.” But during CNN’s Republican presidential debate in Nevada last December, he pledged to remain loyal to the Republican Party.