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Trump hits back request not to use Ronald Reagan’s likeness

President Donald Trump was critical of the Ronald Reagan Foundation and Institute’s chairman Frederick J. Ryan, after the organization told his campaign to stop using the likeness of the 40th president for its fundraising purposes.  

The foundation, which runs Reagan’s library near Los Angeles, controls use of Reagan and his wife Nancy’s name and image, and does not permit either for use in commercial and political endorsements.  

The president tweeted about Ryan, who is also CEO of the Washington Post which has criticized Trump and his administration in the past.

‘So the Washington Post is running the Reagan Foundation, and RINO Paul Ryan is on the Board of Fox, which has been terrible,’ he wrote, also referring to former House Speaker Paul Ryan’s role on the board of Fox, which Trump also has recently disapproved of. RINO means Republican in Name Only.

‘We will win anyway, even with the phony @FoxNews suppression polls (which have been seriously wrong for 5 years)!’

Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh took the criticism one step further, when asked about the foundation’s decision.

‘It should be no surprise that the publisher and CEO of the Washington Post wants to interfere with President Trump’s re-election campaign,’ he said, the New York Post reported. 

‘As Republicans, we all honor Ronald Reagan’s contribution to this country and our party.’ 

Spokespersons for the foundation and Washington Post were not immediately available when reached out for comment Monday.  

The criticism of Frederick Ryan comes after the foundation demanded Reagan’s name and likeness not be used by the Trump campaign and RNC after it learned of a commemorative coin set that was using the 40th president’s image to raise money for the president’s re-election.

The email promoted a commemorative coin 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.  

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.

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