Reagan disparaged 'monkeys from those African countries' in call with Nixon in unearthed tapes

Former President Reagan in a newly unearthed tape disparaged “monkeys” from African countries during a phone call with then-President Nixon while Reagan was governor of California.

Reagan called Nixon in October 1971 — the day after a landmark United Nations vote to recognize the People’s Republic of China — and referenced how the Tanzanian delegation was dancing in the General Assembly after the vote, according to an audio clip of the exchange posted by The Atlantic.

"Last night, I tell you, to watch that thing on television as I did,” Reagan says.

“Yeah,” Nixon cuts in.

Reagan replies, laughing: "To see those, those monkeys from those African countries — damn them, they're still uncomfortable wearing shoes!"


Reagan supported Taiwan and called Nixon the day after the U.N. vote to express his frustration.

The clip was unearthed by Tim Naftali, the former director of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library, who wrote in The Atlantic that the racist exchange was removed from the original tape when it was released in 2000 due to privacy concerns.

In another audio clip, Nixon spoke with then-Secretary of State William Rogers and told him about his exchange with Reagan.

"As you can imagine," Nixon said to 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."

The clip comes as President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump signs bill averting shutdown after brief funding lapse Privacy, civil rights groups demand transparency from Amazon on election data breaches Facebook takes down Trump campaign ads tying refugees to coronavirus MORE faces backlash for his comments about Democratic Rep. Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsWomen of color flex political might Black GOP candidate accuses Behar of wearing black face in heated interview Overnight Health Care: US won't join global coronavirus vaccine initiative | Federal panel lays out initial priorities for COVID-19 vaccine distribution | NIH panel: 'Insufficient data' to show treatment touted by Trump works MORE (Md.) and a group of four progressive minority congresswomen, whom he attacked in remarks that many have decried as racist.

Trump said yesterday that he is the “least racist person anywhere in the world.”