Donald Trump famously fell out with the Bush family and has regularly claimed to be the greatest Republican president since the first, Abraham Lincoln.
He has largely avoided attacking another claimant to that title, Ronald Reagan.
Today, after the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation asked Trump and the Republican party to stop fundraising off the 40th president’s name, the 45th fired a characteristic volley in return.
“So the Washington Post is running the Reagan Foundation,” Trump tweeted this afternoon, linking Reagan to a mortal media enemy, shortly after sallying out of his New Jersey golf club to throw red campaign hats to a group of supporters.
Yesterday, the Reagan foundation demanded that Trump and the Republican National Committee (RNC) quit raising campaign money by using Ronald Reagan’s name and likeness.
The foundation, which runs the 40th president’s library near Los Angeles, controls the rights and use of the names and images of Reagan and wife Nancy.
The complaint concerned an email sent on 19 July.
From “Donald J Trump” and titled “Ronald Reagan and yours truly”, it offered for donations of $45 or more a “limited edition” set of two “iconic” gold-colored coins, one showing Reagan, one Trump.
“The coins,” the Post reported, “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.”
The email was sent to a list that included reporters but it also said: “This offer is NOT available to the general public, so please, do NOT share this email with anyone.”
The RNC had agreed to stop, 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.
Reagan, who made Jimmy Carter a one-term president, is a modern Republican hero.
Trump, staring at being a one-term president himself, less so.
Like most Republican politicians, he has sought to tie himself to Reagan.
In July 2019, for example, Trump shared a tweet which contained a fake Reagan quote pasted over the same picture used in the fundraising email.
“For the life of me,” the fake quote read, “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’s retweet contained one word of his own: “Cute.”
Relations between the Reagans and the Trumps have not been uniformly cordial.
In April 2019, the former president’s daughter Patti Davis wrote a column for the Post entitled “Dear Republicans: Stop using my father, Ronald Reagan, to justify your silence on Trump.”
“At this moment in America’s history,” she wrote, “when the democracy to which my father pledged himself and the constitution that he swore to uphold … are being degraded and chipped away at by a sneering, irreverent man who traffics in bullying and dishonesty, you stay silent.
“You stay silent when President Trump speaks of immigrants as if they are trash, rips children from the arms of their parents and puts them in cages… You stayed silent when this president fawned over Kim Jong-un and took Vladimir Putin’s word … and now you do not act when Trump [shows] his utter contempt” for Congress.
In his Sunday tweet, Trump also showed contempt for a member of the Republican establishment, former House speaker Paul Ryan.
“RINO Paul Ryan is on the Board of Fox which has been terrible,” the president wrote, using an acronym for “Republican in name only”.
“We will win anyway, even with the phony Fox News suppression polls (which have been seriously wrong for five years)!”
Trump also lumped Fox News in with the Post, as part of “the Lamestream Media”.
Trump has repeatedly criticized Fox News polls in recent weeks that have shown him behind Biden in the presidential race.
Last week, Fox News polls found the president behind Biden by 9 percentage points in Michigan and 11 percentage points in Pennsylvania.
Trump won both of those states by slim margins in the 2016 election.