Reagan's daughter: 'There is no defense' for father's 'monkey' remarks

Reagan's daughter: 'There is no defense' for father's 'monkey' remarks
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The late Ronald Reagan’s daughter, Patti Davis, addressed recently unearthed racist remarks he made in a 1971 phone conversation with then-President Richard Nixon, writing in an op-ed for The Washington Post that there was “no defense” for the comments.

“I don’t know if it was masochism or shock, but I listened to the tape twice before allowing myself to cry. I wanted the story to go away, to get buried in the news of the debate. I wanted to immediately go back in time to before I heard my father’s voice saying those words,” Davis wrote of the recording, in which Reagan calls African leaders “monkeys.”


“There is no defense, no rationalization, no suitable explanation for what my father said on that taped phone conversation,” she added.

Davis wrote that she never heard Reagan say anything comparable in her presence, recounting his refusal as governor of California to accept a membership in a whites-only Los Angeles country club as well as an incident in which, as a college football player, he refused to stay at a hotel where the black players were turned away.

“I can tell you all these things, and more, but it doesn’t remove the knife cut of the words I heard him say on that tape. That wound will stay with me forever. But I believe, if my father had, years after the fact, heard that tape, he would have asked for forgiveness,” Davis wrote.

The clip was discovered by the former director of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library, who wrote this week in The Atlantic that when the original tape was released in 2000, Reagan’s remark was excised due to privacy concerns.