Ronald Reagan Made Shockingly Racist Remark In Call With Richard Nixon, Newly Released Recording Reveals

A newly released audio recording of a call between the 37th president of the United States and the 40th president reveals Ronald Regan's casual racism.

Ronald Reagan sits at Oval Office desk.
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A newly released audio recording of a call between the 37th president of the United States and the 40th president reveals Ronald Regan's casual racism.

Amid the ongoing furor over racist remarks made on Twitter by Donald Trump, and the results of a recent poll, as The Inquisitr reported, that showed more than half of Americans, including 80 percent of African-Americans, believe that Trump is a racist, a recording from 1971 reveals a shockingly racist remark made by a previous and now widely beloved Republican president, Ronald Reagan.

The remark, referring to African people as “monkeys,” was made in 1971 by the then-governor of California, Ronald Reagan, who eight years later would be elected the 40th president of the United States. Reagan made the racist remark in a phone call with Richard Nixon, who at the time held office as the 37th U.S. president. Nixon recorded the call, and, as a report by The Atlantic magazine published on Tuesday noted, the tape was released by the National Archives nearly two decades ago.

At that time, Reagan’s racist remark was not included in the released recording. But following a court order in 2013 requiring the Archives to review all of Nixon’s thousands of hours of tapes, the full recording of the 1971 call between Reagan and Nixon was made public about two weeks ago, according to a CNN report. Reagan made the racist remark in the context of a conversation about the United Nations, which he strongly opposed, advocating that the United States withdraw from the U.N.

Richard Nixon with Ronald Reagan
37th U.S. President Richard Nixon (l) with 40th President Ronald Reagan (r). Hulton Archive / Getty Images

To listen to the newly released recording of the call, visit the SoundCloud audio site where the recording has been posted by The Atlantic.

Reagan called Nixon to encourage the then-president to pull the U.S. out of the U.N., which Reagan called a “kangaroo court” run by “bums,” according to The Atlantic account. According to what Nixon later told associates — quoted in The Atlantic by former Nixon Presidential Library Director Tim Naftali — Reagan had seen a television report that showed members of the Tanzanian delegation celebrating a recent vote to admit the People’s Republic of China to the U.N.

Nixon told associates that Reagan was made “sick to his stomach” by the sight of “cannibals jumping up and down.”


In the call, Reagan is heard to say, “To see those, those monkeys from those African countries. Damn them, they’re still uncomfortable wearing shoes,” as quoted by The Huffington Post.

Though the recording marks the first time such a shockingly racist remark by Reagan, who died in 2004, has been made public, Reagan has long been accused of employing racist rhetoric in his 1980 presidential campaign, even delivering the opening speech of his campaign in Philadelphia, Mississippi just a few miles from the site where the Ku Klux Klan murdered three civil rights activists in 1964, according to a historical account by

In the speech, Reagan spoke in favor of “states’ rights,” a slogan widely understood to refer to the supposed “right” of Southern states to hold slaves, or later, discriminate against African-Americans, according to an analysis by The Texas Observer.