Donald Trump
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Republicans Can’t Afford to Help Trump Out With His Huge Bond

“We’ve not heard from the national party. They know what we’re up to in Michigan and what we cannot do,” said a state GOP official.

Don’t expect the Republican Party to step in just yet to help former President Donald Trump out with his financial woes: They’ve got too many problems of their own.

“We’re digging out of a hole from where we were before,” said a member of Michigan’s state GOP leadership. “The Michigan party wouldn’t be in a position to do anything. We haven’t talked about it.”

In the wake of his massive $464 million civil fraud judgment in New York, Trump had some trouble tracking down an underwriter for the appeal bond this week. Interest is accruing, lawyers aren’t cheap and it’s become clear: He needs to find some money.

Republican National Committee chair and Trump daughter-in-law Lara Trump had suggested a way to find it. In late February, before her election, she said she believed paying her father-in-law’s legal bills is of “big interest” to Republican voters and that “every penny” of the RNC would go toward securing Trump the presidency and the GOP control of Congress.

Republican officials weren’t happy to hear it then. They’re not even discussing it at this point, and they seem to think the national party has got the message.

“Lara Trump did say that, but she has not said it since. She is learning, and this is all new to her,” said a veteran RNC member. “Everything since then from the Trump campaign has said we’re not doing that.”

“We’ve not heard from the national party. They know what we’re up to in Michigan and what we cannot do,” the Michigan GOP official said.

Nonetheless, just before Lara Trump took over, the RNC defeated a proposed resolution by committee member Henry Barbour that would’ve barred the organization from paying Trump’s legal fees once he became the presumptive party nominee. One member told CNBC that he believed “more than a majority” of members favored helping Trump out.

But the party can only afford to spare so much. Michigan’s GOP, which is dealing with tough fundraising, a high burn rate and internal leadership squabbles, is emblematic of a difficult, cash-strapped GOP landscape.

The Arizona, Minnesota, Colorado, North Carolina, Massachusetts and Florida state parties have all reportedly been struggling financially. Georgia’s state party is so busy paying off its own legal bills that it’s left Gov. Brian Kemp to pick up the slack. The state Republican parties did not return NOTUS’ request for comment.

And that’s just the state parties. Last year was the RNC’s worst fundraising year since a decade prior, bringing in about $87 million in 2023. They started 2024 with just over $8 million cash on hand. Trump’s campaign has seen both small-donor fatigue, a critical base for him financially, and major donor hesitation.

Meanwhile, Democrats have been raking in cash. The Democratic National Committee started the year with $21 million cash on hand and brought in just under $120 million in 2023.

The GOP has been running ads on X, formerly Twitter, espousing as much: “Here’s the honest truth: things aren’t looking too good for Republicans. The Democrats are outraising us.” The DNC gleefully capitalized on the ad in early March.

Nuha Dolby and Calen Razor are NOTUS reporters and Allbritton Journalism Institute fellows.