It’s another swell day at Trump reelection headquarters. The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute got wind of a new grifting scheme on the part of Donald Trump and the RNC involving commercializing the 40th president’s likeness on a coin along with Trump, and they called a halt to it, jimmy pronto. To quote their marketing official, “within seconds.” Somebody’s head will roll for this — and it won’t be Brad Parscale’s. He went to the guillotine last week. Washington Post:
The solicitation offered, for a donation of $45 or more, a “limited edition” commemorative set featuring two gold-colored coins, one each with an image of Reagan and Trump. The coins were mounted with a 1987 photograph of Reagan and Trump shaking hands in a White House receiving line — the type of fleeting contact that presidents have with thousands of people a year.
You need a little back story on this to fully appreciate it. Trump claimed Reagan was really impressed with him when he met him. In fact, Trump used to love to broadcast a fake quote attributed to Reagan.
This isn’t the first time the 45th president has traded on the name or likeness of the 40th, who is revered among conservatives, for his own purposes. In July 2019, he shared as “Cute!” a fake quote by Reagan that was making its way around social media. According to the apocryphal story, Reagan upon meeting Trump supposedly said: “For the life of me, and I’ll never know how to explain it, when I met that young man, I felt like I was the one shaking hands with the president.”
Trump continued to spread the made-up quote, even though Joanne Drake, the chief administrative officer of the Reagan Foundation, had already told the fact-checking website PolitiFact that Reagan “did not ever say that about Donald Trump.”
So this, plus the fact that Reagan’s son, Michael, said in 2016, “My father would never have put up with this and Nancy would have voted for Hillary,” indicates that the Reagans and the Reagan Foundation are not exactly sweet on Trump. So that, and who knows what else, quashed the commemorative coin set. This was the Trump campaign’s endeavor to impress the classy conservatives and maybe expand the base with them. Unfortunately, there is no desire by the parties responsible for Ronald Reagan’s legacy to see it sullied with an association with Donald Trump and that certainly makes sense. Here’s Trump’s smarmy sales pitch, which apparently the Reagan Foundation found tasteless.
“Friend,” the fundraising email purportedly from Trump said, “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. Unfortunately, we already sold out of the first batch we had in stock. But I liked these coins so much that I asked my team to rush order another batch for my TOP SUPPORTERS ONLY.”
It cautioned: “I’ve authorized a very limited production of these iconic coins, which is why I’m ONLY offering them to our top supporters, like YOU. This offer is NOT available to the general public, so please, do NOT share this email with anyone.”
No, whatever you do, don’t share the email, because we don’t want just anybody’s money, we only want to share this magnificent object d’art with true MAGAts, who can fully appreciate it. The kind of people who will put these on the wall, next to their velvet painting of Elvis. Or maybe use them as props in a cabaret act at the local gun show. (See, you could toss both coins in the air and then shoot the one of Reagan, ha, ha, ha, ha.) And whatever you do, don’t share this email with Nancy Pelosi, because she’s dying to have a likeness of me, all done up fancy in gold, and I won’t let her. If you do, I’ll stop sending you emails addressed “Friend,” so there.
As stated, the Reagan officials decided “within seconds” of receiving the email to stop the campaign. That sloshing sound you hear is that of coffee cups being knocked over onto keyboards at the foundation, as the email came on the screen. The RNC accepted the foundation’s demand — what else were they going to do — but the foundation’s not done. They’re checking into how many people received the emails and how many coin sets were sold. The foundation’s marketing agent, Melissa Giller, said that their lawyers may end up getting involved. Always a primo experience, working at Trump reelection headquarters. If this was Bill Stephien’s bravura performance, I wonder what he’s going to do for an encore? Hemlock, anyone?
This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.