The Ronald Reagan Foundation and Institute, which runs the 40th president’s library near Los Angeles, demanded his name and likeness not be used by the Republican National Committee and Donald Trump to raise money for his re-election campaign.
The RNC agreed to comply after an email began circulating promoting a commemorative coin set that includes Trump’s image alongside Reagan’s. The coin set was given to anyone who donates $45 or more to the campaign.
Monies raised were to go to the Trump Make America Great Again Committee, which supports the president’s campaign and RNC.
The foundation, which controls the rights to Reagan and his wife Nancy’s image and name, claimed the right to deny such usage for political and commercial endorsements.
When the foundation’s members learned of the email promotion, they took action ‘within seconds,’ Reagan Foundation chief marketing officer Melissa Giller said in an email Saturday, the Washington Post reported.
‘It was simply handled with a phone call mid-last week to the RNC, and they agreed to stop,’ Giller said.
The fundraising effort had claimed that ‘The President only authorized the production of 5,000 sets of these iconic coins, which is why we’re ONLY offering them to our TOP supporters.’
The July 19 fundraising email for the commemorative gold, two-coin set came with Donald Trump written in the sender field. The subject line read the words, ‘Ronald Reagan and Yours Truly’.
The reference was to a 1987 photo used to accompany the gold coins. In the image, a younger Trump is seen shaking hands with Reagan on a White House receiving line.
Such a photo opportunity is not unusual for any number of visitors who’ve had a chance to meet a US president. But it provided incentive to anyone who collects presidential coins and who wanted to donate to Trump’s campaign.
‘Friend,’ the email said to the reader, presuming the writer was Trump.
‘I just saw our new Trump-Reagan Commemorative Coin Sets and WOW, these coins are beautiful – I took one look and immediately knew that I wanted YOU to have a set,’ the email reads, the Post reported.
‘These aren’t any ordinary coins. They symbolize an important time in our Nation. This year, in addition to being re-elected as YOUR President, it also marks the 40th anniversary of our Nation’s 40th President, Ronald Reagan,’ the email explained.
‘Unfortunately, we already sold out of the first batch we had in stock. But I liked these coins so much that I asked my team to rush order another batch for my TOP SUPPORTERS ONLY.’
‘I’ve authorized a very limited production of these iconic coins,’ the email alerts the reader, ‘which is why I’m ONLY offering them to our top supporters, like YOU. This offer is NOT available to the general public, so please, do NOT share this email with anyone.’
The foundation’s denial over use or Reagan’s image was just the latest setback for the Trump campaign and RNC, which cancelled the Jacksonville, Florida, portion of their upcoming convention due to the state becoming a COVID-19 hotspot.
‘So I told my team it’s time to cancel the Jacksonville, Florida component of the GOP convention,’ Trump said at the top of his Thursday press briefing.
The convention would start on August 24 in Charlotte, North Carolina – which had always been the plan – before the president got in a fight with the state’s Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper who couldn’t guarantee he’d be allowed to fill a stadium.
Trump didn’t commit to fully holding the RNC back in Charlotte, saying he would hold ‘tele-rallies’ through the week.
‘And I’ll still do a convention speech in a different form, but we won’t do a big, crowded convention per say. It’s just not the right time for that,’ the president said.