History has been kind to former President Ronald Reagan. In death, the story of Reagan, the racist actor-turned-racist president has morphed into Reagan, the conservative maverick whose vision for America created the blueprint for “self-reliance.”
Even former President Barack Obama spoke highly of Reagan and often quoted the 40th president. Time magazine even wrote a piece about their bromance. The two men are often voted the most popular presidents, although their fundamental core beliefs couldn’t be more different.
One man was raised in Hawaii, the other was a racist.
One was the first black president, the other was a racist.
One was an Ivy League lawyer and professor. The other was Ronald Reagan.
Well, for all of those who are remembering Reagan wrong, an unearthed audio clip proves that then-California Gov. Ronald Reagan, the architect of “Reaganomics,” was indeed a bonafide racist.
During a call with then-President Richard Nixon, Reagan referred to people from African countries as “monkeys,” according to the former director of Nixon’s presidential library, who published his findings in the Atlantic.
Tim Naftali, who directed the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum from 2007 to 2011, writes that Reagan — who would later become the 40th President of the United States — called Nixon in October 1971, the day after the United Nations had voted to recognize the People’s Republic of China. In the call, he says, Reagan is heard apparently referencing the way the Tanzanian delegation started dancing in the General Assembly when the UN took the vote to seat the delegation from Beijing instead of Taiwan.
Reagan, Naftali writes, is heard saying to Nixon, “Last night, I tell you, to watch that thing on television as I did.”
Reagan continued, “To see those, those monkeys from those African countries—damn them, they’re still uncomfortable wearing shoes!”
The National Archives did some fishy shit of its own, having released the tape of the phone call but conveniently leaving out the part where Reagan went full racist. Naftali wrote that last year, he requested a new review of Nixon’s conversation with Reagan and the Archives was all, “Oops, we found the racist part” and released the complete recording online two weeks ago, CNN reports.
Here’s the even funnier part: Nixon, who no one remembers in a kind light, then called his Secretary of State William Rogers and went over his conversation with Reagan and also went full racist.
“As you can imagine,” Nixon told Rogers, “there’s strong feeling that we just shouldn’t, as (Reagan) said, he saw these...cannibals on television last night, and he says, ‘Christ, they weren’t even wearing shoes, and here the United States is going to submit its fate to that,’ and so forth and so on.”
CNN notes that this unearthing of presidents being racist-y comes out now that America is dealing with the most boldly racist president to ever set his sweaty Diet Coke can on the Oval Office desk. Recently, Trump has gone on a full racist assault against four progressive Democratic congresswomen of color, aka “the Squad,” telling them to “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime-infested places from which they came.” The president has also engaged in a full-on attack against the residents of Baltimore, calling the majority-black city, represented by new Trump target Rep. Elijah Cummings, “disgusting” and “infested with rats and roaches.” He also called Baltimore a place “no human being would want to live.”
New York Times columnist Charles Blow summed up this racist trait of dehumanizing blackness when he wrote: “White supremacy isn’t necessarily about rendering white people superhuman; it is just as often about rendering nonwhite people as subhuman.”