U.S. President Donald Trump delivers a speech during a tour of the Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies’ Innovation Center, a pharmaceutical manufacturing plant where components for a potential coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine candidate are being developed, in Morrrisville, North Carolina, U.S., July 27, 2020. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

THE NEUTRAL ZONE

U.S. President Donald Trump on Sunday lashed out on Twitter at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute after the organization requested that his campaign and the Republican National Committee stop using former President Ronald Reagan’s likeness in fundraising efforts. The request came in response to a fundraising email from the Trump Make America Great Again Committee offering two commemorative coins – one engraved with Reagan’s image and the other with President Trump’s –  to anyone who donates $45 or more. The foundation stated that provides sole rights of the use of Reagan’s and his wife’s names and images, and has the right to “stop groups from using them for political or commercial gain.”

Melissa Giller, the foundation’s chief marketing officer, said, “The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute owns the name, image and likeness of President Reagan and [the RNC] used his image for the coin without our consent. We called the RNC and asked them to cease and desist the use of President Reagan on the coin and they agreed.” 

Backlash for the Foundation’s request was swift. In a statement provided to CNN, RNC communications director Michael Ahrens said, “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.” He added that Reagan’s likeness is “used by thousands of Republicans each year.” 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?”

Conservative commentator Mark Levin highlighted that Washington Post publisher and CEO Fred Ryan is the chairman of the Reagan Library & Foundation. He detailed the publication’s alleged “leftist agenda” and its “huge conflict” with the conservative legacy of Reagan. In a Saturday column for Washington Post, political columnist Karen Tumulty outlined the foundation’s request, mentioning Ryan’s position with the foundation and stating that he declined to provide a comment for the column.

MEDIA PERSPECTIVE

Reagan foundation tells Trump campaign, RNC to stop using Reagan to fundraise – Axios – 7/26/2020
The foundation can’t stop every group and individual using Reagan’s name and likeness, but it claims the right to stop groups from using it for political or commercial gain, according to the Post.Trump has often drawn parallels between himself and Reagan, and his “Make America Great Again” campaign slogan is an adaptation of one used by Reagan in the 1980s.

Mark Levin condemns ‘clear conflict’ of Washington Post CEO also serving as chairman of Reagan Foundation – Washington Examiner – 7/26/2020
The Washington Post’s CEO and publisher, Fred Ryan, serves as chairman of the board of trustees for the foundation, which maintains and sustains the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, prompting Levin to issue a series of tweets on the matter on Sunday. Levin said that he worked for Reagan’s administration for eight years and “did not realize that Fred Ryan, who is now the publisher and CEO of the Washington Post is also the chairman of the Reagan Library & Foundation board.”

Trump aims barb at Reagan Foundation in fundraising coin kerfuffle – The Guardian – 7/26/2020
The source of the strife was a Post column published on Saturday. It said the Reagan foundation “has demanded that Donald Trump and the Republican National Committee (RNC) quit raising campaign money by using Ronald Reagan’s name and likeness.” […] The RNC had agreed to stop, the Post said, though it noted that on Saturday the coins remained available. The Post also noted its connection to Ryan Jr, who it said declined to comment.

Mark Levin Rips WashPost, Reagan Foundation Link – Newsmax – 7/27/2020
Conservative commentator Mark Levin slammed the CEO and publisher of The Washington Post for having a “huge conflict” related to his ties with the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute. Levin said publisher Fred Ryan, also the chairman of the board of trustees for the Reagan Institute, is clearly involved in the foundation’s request issued to the Trump campaign to stop using Reagan’s name and likeness to raise money.

INFLUENCER PERSPECTIVE

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