The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute told the Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee last week to stop using the former president’s image to fundraise, a blow to the party that considers Reagan a conservative hero.
The request came after the Trump Make America Great Again Committee, a joint federal fundraising committee from the Trump campaign and the RNC, sent an email to supporters promising two commemorative coins—one with Reagan’s face and another with Trump’s—to people who donated $45 or more, according to Washington Post columnist Karen Tumulty, who first reported the news Saturday.
The Reagan Foundation has the sole rights to Reagan’s name, likeness and image, and has “power to block them from being used for commercial purposes and political endorsements” even though some might be in the public domain, Tumulty writes.
The foundation is trying to figure out how many coin sets were sold and may take further legal action, according to the Washington Post.
In a statement to Forbes, RNC Communications Director Michael Ahrens said the request came as a surprise because the foundation “has not objected to us using President Reagan’s likeness before,” but said they “will stop emailing this fundraising solicitation as a courtesy.”
The Trump campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Forbes.
Ahrens said the Reagan foundation “recently hosted the Trump family to raise money for its organization,” referring to a book signing eight months ago with Donald Trump Jr. for his book, “Triggered.”
“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.
Trump’s campaign is struggling ahead of the November election. Joe Biden and the Democratic National Committee jointly raised $141 million in June, outraising Trump and the Republican National Committee by $10 million. Trump replaced his campaign manager earlier this month after a disappointing rally in Tulsa. And the president is falling further behind in a slate of recent polls.