Reagan Foundation asks Trump campaign, RNC to stop using former president’s name to raise money
The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute called on President Trump’s reelection campaign and the Republican National Committee (RNC) to stop using former President Reagan’s name and image to fundraise last week.
The request came after the Trump campaign sent out a fundraising email on July 19 that said for a donation of $45 or more, a supporter of the president would receive a “limited edition” set featuring two gold-colored coins with images of Trump and Reagan.
The story was first reported by The Washington Post.
The sender of the message was “Donald J. Trump,” and the subject line was “Ronald Reagan and Yours Truly.” The set also included a 1987 image of Reagan and Trump shaking hands at the White House.
“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. 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 text of the email read.
Proceeds from the sales of the coins went to the Trump Make America Great Again Committee, which provides support to the RNC and the Trump campaign.
Reagan Foundation Chief Marketing Officer Melissa Giller confirmed in a statement to The Hill that the foundation reached out to the RNC last week after hearing about the coin.
“We own the likeness of President Reagan and they used his image for the coin without our consent. We called the RNC and asked them to cease and desist the use of Pres Reagan on the coin and they agreed,” Giller said.
In the 1990s, Reagan and his wife, Nancy, granted the foundation the rights to their names, images and likenesses.
The foundation is still looking into how many of the coin sets were sold and how many people received the email, in addition to considering involving lawyers, according to the Post.
The coins still appear to be available for sale as of Saturday afternoon.
Michael Ahrens, the RNC’s communications director, told The Hill that “President Reagan was a proud Republican and supporter of a party that has carried on his fight for conservative principles of economic opportunity and limited government.”
“His likeness is used by thousands of Republicans each year who gather around the country for ‘Reagan Dinners,’ and his library regularly hosts debates for our presidential candidates,” he added.
“Given that the Reagan Foundation just recently hosted the Trump family to raise money for its organization and has not objected to us using President Reagan’s likeness before, their objection came as a surprise. Even though we believe our use of the image was appropriate, we will stop emailing this fundraising solicitation as a courtesy,” Ahrens said.
The Hill has reached out to the Trump campaign for comment.
Updated 11:41 p.m.