Recently released comments made by former President Ronald Reagan have created something of a controversy. A recording of the former president revealed offensive comments made about Africans. But instead of just reporting on Reagan’s statements, establishment media outlets did what they do best: They used the story to attack President Donald Trump by bringing up his tweets.
The connection between Reagan’s comments and Trump’s tweets about members of “The Squad” are tenuous at best. But, when have trifling details such as this ever stopped the press from using unrelated stories as a political cudgel?
Reagan’s Racist Comments Unearthed
Tim Naftali, who served as the director of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum from 2007 to 2011, penned a piece for The Atlantic in which he describes an audio recording of a phone call between President Richard Nixon and Reagan made in 1971. In the recording, the two men discussed the United Nations’ decision to recognize the People’s Republic of China.
Reagan brought up the Tanzanian delegation’s behavior when the vote was taken; members of the group began dancing in the General Assembly when they seated Beijing instead of Taiwan. In his piece, Naftali explains that Reagan says to Nixon, “To see those, those monkeys from those African countries — damn them, they’re still uncomfortable wearing shoes!”
Naftali goes on to describe Reagan as “a devoted defender of Taiwan” who wanted the United States to refuse to participate in the proceedings. By now, you might be wondering how this relates to President Trump in 2019. Join the club.
Media Uses Comments to Attack Trump
In a piece written about Reagan’s comments, CNN’s Kate Sullivan wrote, “The newly unearthed audio comes weeks after President Donald Trump used racist language to attack four progressive Democratic congresswomen of color, implying they weren’t American and suggesting they ‘go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.’”
CNN’s Keith Boykin also attempted to tie the remarks to Trump. He tweeted:
“In this 1971 phone call, Ronald Reagan described African diplomats as “monkeys” who are “still uncomfortable wearing shoes.” Nixon laughed at Reagan’s racist joke.
In 2018, Trump called black countries “sh*tholes.”
The Party of Lincoln 😏”
Jessica Campisi wrote an article for The Hill in which she made a similar connection. “The clip comes as President Trump faces backlash for his comments about Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings (Md.) and a group of four progressive minority congresswomen, whom he attacked in remarks that many have decried as racist.”
Despite the media’s assertions, Reagan’s comments, while regrettable, have nothing to do with President Trump. He has a penchant for making politically incorrect remarks, but there is no evidence he has used a slur to refer to minorities.
Trump’s ill-advised tweet in which he stated that particular members of Congress should “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came” and then come back to the United States to “show us how it’s done” may not have been the wises political move. Despite the fact that he clearly says these individuals should come back to the US, it did open him up to criticism that is difficult to defend. But it is a far cry from calling Africans “monkeys.”
It appears that some on the left simply wanted to use Reagan’s comment to reignite this particular controversy. But others decided to use it for more current matters, namely, Trump’s remarks about Baltimore. But this is another losing battle. When Trump called Rep. Elijah Cummings’ (D-MD) district a “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess,” he wasn’t saying anything that we didn’t already know. Baltimore is known for high levels of poverty, crime, and yes, rats.
It’s also worth pointing out that when Trump drew attention to the plight of the residents living in the city, the media refused to cover the conditions on the ground. Instead, they pointed the finger and shouted “racist” as loudly as possible to distract the American public from the situation. Their reasons are simple: Democrats have run Baltimore for decades and have systematically destroyed the city. That’s one of the most useful quality of the race-baiting technique: Not only can Democrats shut down just bout any debate, they also do this to shift attention from their own faults and failures. But that still doesn’t answer the core question: What does Reagan’s comment have to do with Trump?