The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute is "100% correct" in its pushback against President Donald Trump's campaign for its use of a photograph of President Ronald Reagan and Trump shaking hands to market an embossed coin for prospective donors, the late president's son Michael Reagan told Newsmax TV on Monday.
"If you're going to use Ronald Reagan's likeness, you have to go to the [Reagan] library and get permission to use the likeness," Reagan said on Monday's "Greg Kelly Reports." "Nobody got permission to use that likeness."
Further, Reagan told Kelly, it would be illegal for the Reagan Foundation, as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization to become involved in a political campaign and look as if it is offering a "tacit endorsement" of a campaign.
Trump, he added, is "absolutely wrong" with his use of the likeness and even if one would "like to see them together," and even if the late president might have endorsed him, "you can't" use the likeness to imply an endorsement, Reagan told Kelly.
Trump and others have also complained the move from the Reagan Foundation to block the use of the image was spurred by The Washington Post publisher Fred Ryan, who chairs the foundation and was the late president's chief of staff after he left the White House, but Reagan told Kelly that Ryan is not the issue.
"There's a million people who have taken photos of my father shaking hands," said Reagan, but those cannot be used as endorsements for political campaigns.
He added, while Ryan runs the Post, with which the president frequently spars, "the reality is, he reacted to something Donald Trump should not have done. Do not put it on Fred Ryan. Put it on Trump. He screwed up."
Kelly insisted Trump was "not making the calls" about the campaign material, and said he cannot imagine Democrats complained if the situations were different and someone like a Bill Clinton used an image of himself and John F. Kennedy.
"Is there something else going on?" said Kelly, noting there are Republicans who do not support Trump.
"What's wrong with picking up the phone and calling the library?" Michael Reagan responded. "[His] staff is doing a terrible job. They should have called the library and asked for permission to use a coin with my father's photo on it."
Over the weekend, chief marketing officer Melissa Giller told the Post it asked the Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee to stop offering the coins to people who donate $45 or more.
Trump pushed back Sunday at the foundation after it requested his campaign quit using the Reagan likeness, also slapping in a tweet at former House Speaker Paul Ryan and Fox News.
"So The Washington Post is running the Reagan Foundation, and RINO Paul Ryan is on the Board of Fox, which has been terrible," Trump tweeted. "We will win anyway, even with the phony @FoxNews suppression polls (which have been seriously wrong for 5 years)!"
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