The weekend retreat in early April for the party’s most influential donors will be at a luxury hotel in Palm Beach, Fla., as in past years. But the RNC has decided to move the Saturday evening portion of the schedule to the former president’s private club to accommodate Trump and guests who would like to visit the site, according to officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the plans.
The national party will sign a contract with Mar-a-Lago to host the event and will be paying Trump’s club for the use of the facilities and the meal, according to a Republican involved in the planning, who declined to share the size of the fee.
The person said it would be easier to accommodate such a large event that includes Secret Service logistics at the former president’s club, and that many GOP donors liked visiting Mar-a-Lago, where Trump has been living since he left the White House.
Spending money at the club is also likely to curry favor with Trump, who often attended GOP events during his presidency when they were held at his hotels. During the Trump administration, the RNC donor retreat was regularly held at a Palm Beach hotel, with a portion at Mar-a-Lago.
Representatives for the Trump Organization and Trump did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
At least 350 people have sought to attend Trump’s speech, the largest of any session of the retreat, an official said. The other scheduled speakers, which include Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and former secretary of state Mike Pompeo, will make their addresses at the main hotel.
Trump has made clear his intention to play a dominant role in the Republican Party, telling conservatives activists in a speech last month that he is considering another presidential run in 2024.
RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel has vowed to stay neutral in the 2024 race and has come under competing pressure from the members, many of whom are urging her to support Trump more, while others want the party to move past him and look for new leaders after his supporters attacked the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 and the party lost the House, Senate and White House under his watch.
Trump has expressed annoyance at McDaniel’s continued public comments that she will be neutral in the race, several advisers said.
His legal team also recently sent a cease-and-desist letter to the RNC and two GOP congressional committees, demanding they not use his name or likeness in fundraising appeals without his explicit consent, according to a copy of the letter viewed by The Washington Post. Politico first reported the existence of the letter.
McDaniel has spoken to Trump repeatedly in recent weeks, including this past weekend to address his cease-and-desist letter. She explained that the party wants to tout his accomplishments, and the party plans to continue using his likeness, which she argued helps him as well, people with knowledge of the conversations said.
Fundraising appeals with the president’s name tend to do better than those without, people involved in the efforts said.
In a letter Monday to Trump’s PAC, the RNC chief counsel wrote that in McDaniel’s conversation with Trump over the weekend, the former president “reaffirmed” that he “approves of the RNC’s current use of his name in fundraising and other materials,” according to a copy reviewed by The Post.
“The RNC has not sent any fundraising requests in President Trump’s name or used his image since before he left office, nor would it do so without his prior approval,” he added.
David A. Fahrenthold contributed to this report.