It’s almost like there’s a concerted effort going on here to paint Republicans as racist.
The Atlantic is touting newly unearthed audio showing former President Ronald Reagan disparaging African delegates at the United Nations. That’s African, as in countries on the continent, not Americans.
The day after the United Nations voted to recognize the People’s Republic of China, then–California Governor Ronald Reagan phoned President Richard Nixon at the White House and vented his frustration at the delegates who had sided against the United States. “Last night, I tell you, to watch that thing on television as I did,” Reagan said. “Yeah,” Nixon interjected. Reagan forged ahead with his complaint: “To see those, those monkeys from those African countries—damn them, they’re still uncomfortable wearing shoes!” Nixon gave a huge laugh.
This took place in 1971. The context is that the UN, being the dumpster fire of an organization that it is, had just voted to recognize China over Taiwan. Some African nations sided against the United States (who history would undoubtedly prove right) and that obviously had Reagan and Nixon incensed.
As to the remark, the early 70s were obviously a very different time with very different standards, even if we agree those standards today were not good. Secondly, it’s not even clear that Reagan meant this as broad “racism” as much as a criticism of the behavior of a specific African country.
When the UN took its vote to seat a delegation from Beijing instead of from Taiwan in 1971, members of the Tanzanian delegation started dancing in the General Assembly. Reagan, a devoted defender of Taiwan, was incensed, and tried to reach Nixon the night of the vote. Reagan despised the United Nations, which he described as a “kangaroo court” filled with “bums,” and he wanted the U.S. to withdraw from full participation immediately. Nixon was asleep when Reagan called, so they spoke the next morning.
The point is, I don’t know what was in the guy’s heart, nor do I think a single line defines a person anyway. The remark was ill-advised and insensitive, but I don’t believe Reagan meant it as a racist indictment of all black people. I think he was really mad at some of the African delegates and vented in an offensive manner. Nothing about his record showed him to actually believe blacks were “inferior,” as the article supposes.
This hit piece from The Atlantic is bad faith all around, but that’s been their mark for a long time. Of course, this was all dug up specifically to hit Donald Trump.
The past month has brought presidential racism back into the headlines. This October 1971 exchange between current and future presidents is a reminder that other presidents have subscribed to the racist belief that Africans or African Americans are somehow inferior. The most novel aspect of President Donald Trump’s racist gibes isn’t that he said them, but that he said them in public.
In other words, Reagan was a racist but Trump is worse because he said things in public.
Never mind that nothing Trump said was objectively racist. The comments on “the squad” could be loosely described as xenophobic if you make certain assumptions, but there was no racial element at all. Trump was clearly not targeting them because of their race but because they are the most outspoken, radical elements of the Democrat party.
As to his latest comments, there was no racial connotation whatsoever in his criticism of Baltimore and Elijah Cummings. In that case, we know exactly why he targeted Cummings. It was over a dishonest, gross rant he aimed at Sec. McAleenan. Baltimore is the most murderous city in the world and has extreme levels of poverty in the city proper. Those were all the reasons the President needed. There was no secret racist motive and we know that because Trump has used language like “drug-infested” before to describe predominantly white areas like New Hampshire.
Yet, it was racist because the smart set in the media told us it was. And to prove their point that this is a normal, evil Republican thing, they went and dug up this old tape of Reagan to slander his legacy because getting Trump is always worth it.
Of course, you could find more examples than you can count of past Democrat Presidents saying and doing racist things, especially given they are the party of Jim Crow and segregation. That doesn’t fit the narrative though, so going after Ronald Reagan gets the go-ahead instead.
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