Reagan was governor of California at the time the conversation took place, and Complex writes that he was angry because African delegates started dancing after the U.N. voted to oust Taiwan and recognize the People’s Republic of China as “the only legitimate representative of China to the United Nations.”
Reagan, a supporter of Taiwan, called Nixon the following day to express his disappointment, saying:”To see those… monkeys from those African countries – damn them, they’re still uncomfortable wearing shoes!”
Nixon can then be heard laughing.
“Last night, I tell you, to watch that thing on television as I did,” Reagan says in the audio. “Yeah,” Nixon interjected. Reagan forged ahead with his racism: “To see those, those monkeys from those African countries—damn them, they’re still uncomfortable wearing shoes!” Nixon responds with laughter.
Nixon’s retelling of the conversation with Secretary of State William Rogers went down like this… “As he said, he saw these, uh, 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 president wanted his secretary of state to understand that Reagan spoke for racist Americans, and they needed to be listened to,” writes The Atlantic.
The recording was unearthed by Tim Naftali, a clinical associate professor of history at New York University, according to BBC.com. Naftai served as director of the Nixon Presidential Library from 2007 until 2011, and wrote in The Atlantic that the racist exchange was removed from the original tapes for privacy reasons.
The tapes were released by the National Archives in 2000, while Reagan was still alive.
Reagan’s racism is finally confirmed nearly five decades later, just as Donald Trump proclaims to be the “least racist person in the world” — though his record suggests otherwise.
“I am the least racist person there is anywhere in the world,” Trump said Tuesday while defending his recent attack on Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings. “What I’ve done for African-Americans in two and a half years, no president has been able to do anything like it.”
He continued: “[…] I think I’m helping myself because I’m pointing out the tremendous corruption that’s taken place in Baltimore and other Democratic run cities,” he said when asked about the political repercussions of his attack on Cummings. “And I’ll tell you what. The White House and myself, in letters and emails and phone calls, have received more phone calls than I think on any other subjects of people from Baltimore and other cities corruptly run by Democrats thanking me for getting involved. Those people are living in hell in Baltimore. They’re largely African American. You have a large African American population. And they really appreciate what I’m doing, and they’ve let me know it. They really appreciate it.”
The White House has not provided any receipts of these alleged supportive “letters and emails and phone calls” from Black folks.