Politics

Nikki Haley says Trump should not use RNC as personal ‘piggy bank’ for his legal fees

Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley on Friday warned that former President Donald Trump will use the RNC to pay his mounting legal fees, should he win the 2024 GOP nomination.

In an interview on CNN, Haley said she does not want Trump to use the Republican National Committee (RNC) — which solicits donations from GOP voters — as his personal “piggy bank.” 

“My biggest issue is I don’t want the RNC to become 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. We’ve already seen him spend $50 million worth of campaign contributions toward his personal court cases.” 

“Now we see him trying to get control of the RNC, so he can continue not to have to pay his own legal fees,” she added.

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Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley and former President Donald Trump. (Getty Images)

Haley’s comments came after a New York judge ordered Trump to pay more than $350 million in the civil fraud case brought by state Attorney General Letitia James. Judge Arthur Engoron ruled that Trump and other defendants were liable for “persistent and repeated fraud,” “falsifying business records,” “issuing false financial statements,” “conspiracy to falsify false financial statements,” “insurance fraud,” and “conspiracy to commit insurance fraud.” 

The judge also barred Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump from serving as officers or directors of any New York corporation or legal entity in New York for two years. 

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Trump Endorsements

Former President Donald Trump announced his endorsements for leadership positions in the Republican National Committee on Feb. 12, 2024. The former president endorsed Michael Whatley, left, to serve as the RNC’s next chairman; Lara Trump to serve as vice chair; and Chris LaCivita to serve as the Chief Operating Officer of the RNC. (AP and Getty images)

Engoron’s ruling came weeks after Trump was ordered to pay over $83 million in a defamation case brought by writer E. Jean Carroll, who accused Trump of sexual assault.

The RNC previously acknowledged that it had been paying certain legal fees “that relate to politically motivated legal proceedings waged against President Trump,” according to reporting from The Hill, including investigations by then-Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr. and New York Attorney General Letitia James.

However, in 2022, the RNC said it would not pay Trump’s legal bills once he declared himself a candidate for the White House. 

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Jesus Suarez court sketch

A court sketch depicts attorney Jesus Suarez questioning Eli Bartov as former president Donald Trump and Judge Arthur Engoron look on in Manhattan civil court in New York on Thursday, December 7, 2023. (Jane Rosenberg)

Haley raised concerns that should Trump win the 2024 GOP nomination, he would commandeer the RNC and loyal GOP donors to pick up the tab for his civil judgments. Trump has already endorsed North Carolina GOP chair Michael Whatley to take over from current RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, along with his daughter-in-law Lara Trump to potentially serve as vice-chair. 

“The problem is that doesn’t help us when any seats in the House, in the Senate or anything else if the RNC is all focused on his legal fees,” Haley said on CNN. 

“He’s made the co-chair his daughter-in-law. He’s made his campaign manager the director of operations. He’s trying to control the RNC after the fact that he tried to get me out of the race so that he could be the presumptive nominee. All of that is so that he has an arm to pay his legal fees,” she continued. 

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

The Trump campaign and RNC did not immediately respond to requests for comment. 

Trump and Haley will face off in the South Carolina Republican primary next Saturday on Feb. 24, 2024. 

Fox News Digital’s Michael Lee contributed to this report.

Get the latest updates from the 2024 campaign trail, exclusive interviews and more at our Fox News Digital election hub.

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