By Helen Coster and Alexandra Ulmer

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A member of the Republican National Committee introduced resolutions that would prohibit the party from paying the presidential candidate. donald trumpThe bills are legal, according to a draft, but the measures must get more support soon to move forward.

Mississippi RNC committeeman Henry Barbour drafted the resolution on Trump’s legal fees and another requiring the party committee to remain neutral in the presidential race until it receives enough delegates to secure the nomination.

“The Republican National Committee’s job is to win elections. It’s not to pay any leading candidate’s legal bills. It has to fight its own legal battle,” Barbour told Reuters on Saturday.

Barbour needs to get two cosponsors from 10 states to join the effort by Tuesday to move the resolutions to a full vote by the RNC’s 168 committee members. That vote could take place in March and would require a simple majority to pass. But Barbour predicted that they would be defeated if they got to that point.

Former President Trump, who denies any wrongdoing, faces four criminal trials and was recently ordered to pay about $540 million in judgments in two civil cases.

A Trump super PAC reported paying more than $47 million in legal fees for him in 2023.

Trump is seeking to cement his status as the Republican presidential candidate and gain more control over the Republican National Committee, even nominating his daughter-in-law Lara Trump as co-chair.

Lara Trump has said it is “in people’s best interests” to pay the fees for her father-in-law’s criminal and civil cases.

Barbour said pro-Trump forces were “rushing the gun” in trying to declare Trump the party’s presidential nominee, while challenger Nikki Haley remains in the race for the Republican nomination to face Democratic President Joe Biden in the election. November. Trump is on track for another easy victory in the South Carolina primary on Saturday.

The resolutions were first reported by The Dispatch. Trump co-campaign manager Chris LaCivita, whom Trump proposed to serve as the RNC’s chief operating officer, said in a statement Saturday that it is the RNC’s “sole responsibility to defeat Joe Biden and take back the White House.”

On Friday he said the RNC would not use the funds raised to pay Trump’s legal bills.

(Reporting by Helen Coster in New York and Alexandra Ulmer in Columbia, South Carolina; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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