The Reagan Foundation has asked the Donald Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee joint fundraising committee to stop using President Ronald Reagan’s likeness in fundraising appeals, an RNC spokesman confirmed to CNN.
The presidential foundation, named for the nation’s 40th president, a Republican, called the RNC earlier this week in response to a fundraising email offering donors a chance to receive one of their “new Trump-Reagan Commemorative Coin Sets” featuring likenesses of both presidents, the spokesman told CNN Sunday.
The call was first reported by the Washington Post.
The fundraising pitch, which featured the subject line “Ronald Reagan and yours truly,” was signed by President Donald Trump.
“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,” RNC communications director Michael Ahrens told CNN in a statement. “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. 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.”
RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel wrote in a tweet, “The Republican Party has used President Reagan’s image for decades. But since the Reagan Foundation is suddenly opposed to it, are they going to return the money @DonaldJTrumpJr and @kimguilfoyle raised for them just 8 months ago?” before sharing a link to an event hosted by the foundation, featuring Donald Trump Jr., with proceeds benefiting the Reagan Foundation.
Ahrens also pointed to a number of events featuring members of the Trump family and administration benefiting the Reagan Foundation, telling CNN even though the RNC maintains their use of Reagan’s likeness was “appropriate,” they’d pull the email pitch “as a courtesy.”
Trump, and his campaign, directed ire at Fred Ryan, who works as the Washington Post’s publisher and serves as chairman of the board of trustees for the California-based Reagan Foundation.
“So the Washington Post is running the Reagan Foundation,” Trump tweeted Sunday, promising supporters, “We will win anyway” despite “phony” polls.
“It should be no surprise that the publisher and CEO of the Washington Post wants to interfere with President Trump’s reelection campaign,” Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh told CNN. “As Republicans, we all honor Ronald Reagan’s contribution to this country and our party.”
The Reagan Foundation did not respond to a request for comment.