Patti Davis, the daughter of former U.S. President Ronald Reagan, penned an op-ed in the Washington Post about her father’s recently leaked comments, describing United Nations diplomats from Tanzania “monkeys.”
In the opinion piece, Davis says her father’s words were indefensible.
She wrote, “There is no defense, no rationalization, no suitable explanation for what my father said on that taped phone conversation… When I was growing up, bigotry and racism were addressed in my family by making it clear that these were toxic and sinister beliefs that should always be called out and shunned.”
The recorded conversation was between the 40th President and 37th President Richard Nixon, and took place in 1971. In a segment of the tape, which was published in an article in The Atlantic on July 30, Reagan, who was then California’s governor, can be heard expressing his frustration to Nixon over the United Nations voting to recognize the People’s Republic of China with the help of delegates from several African countries.
“To see those, those monkeys from those African countries — damn them, they’re still uncomfortable wearing shoes!” Reagan said as Nixon laughed.
Patti Davis ended the op-ed by apologizing in the name of her father. “I believe, if my father had, years after the fact, heard that tape, he would have asked for forgiveness,” she wrote. “He would have said, ‘I deeply regret what I said — that’s not who I am.’”
Ronald Reagan served two terms as president from 1981 to 1989. He passed away in 2004 while Davis’ mother, former first lady Nancy Reagan, died in 2016.
Read the full op-ed here.
Photo: Dirck Halstead / Contributor