Always out to make the Republicans look bad, on Thursday night’s All In, MSNBC host Chris Hayes decided to smear the entirety of the Republican Party since the Reagan era as racists. Hayes began by introducing a recently uncovered 1971 phone call recorded between then-President Richard Nixon and then-California Governor Ronald Reagan, in which Reagan, in a moment of human imperfection made some less-than-decent statements about African people.
Reagan, who many have always considered a man of great character, and who highly regarded African Americans throughout his career and life, is nonetheless being redefined by the liberal media for these isolated comments. As Hayes put it: “So for almost 20 years we didn't have this pretty important piece of information about how Ronald Reagan thought about the world. Ronald Reagan, the sainted conservative hero who's largely responsible for popularizing the term and concept of the welfare queen."
Of course, this new piece of dirt has given Hayes permission to extend accusations to the entire Republican Party: “And it's not just these two men. The racial politics of the post-Goldwater conservative movement have been pretty -- well, pretty bad for decades before Trump ever got into the White House.” The party of Lincoln is -- as always -- having to deal with the criticisms of those looking to create broad generalizations about a group of people with a single shared commonality, but what’s new?
Hayes then brought these statements around to the recent Democratic primary debates, hailing Maryanne Williamson’s “dark psychic force” statement as: “probably as good a description of the core of Trumpism as anything.” To accuse all Trump supporters and conservatives of being a “dark psychic force” (whatever that means) is simply bad journalism and isn’t doing anything to help MSNBC’s rapidly declining viewership.
The left-wing host went on about this “darkness” and in typical liberal fashion, equated a few radical Trump supporters as representing “Nazism”: “…when the President stands before a crowd and incites it to chant 'Send her back' as he did at her last rally or when his fans get up in the faces of the media and scream the Nazi term for the lying press.”
Hayes then concluded: “Does this darkness continue to be stoked by the most powerful man in the world or not?” Reagan, who stood as a beacon of light for freedom, who helped end the Cold War, and promoted democracy, should in no way be evidence of some imagined racist plot that President Trump is now using to incite his supporters.
Here is the transcript from the August 1 episode of All In with Chris Hayes:
MSNBC's All In with Chris Hayes
08:49:50 PM ET
CHRIS HAYES: On October 25th, 1971, the United Nations voted to admit the Communist Peoples of China into the U.N. and expel Taiwan from the body. The extremely controversial and important vote was opposed by the Nixon administration, who wanted to keep their ally Taiwan in the United Nations and keep communist China out. Well, after furious lobbying, the U.S. lost that vote, which is a huge deal, covered wall to wall on network television. Among the images shown were celebrations in the U.N. General Assembly from countries that supported China over Taiwan. And that was apparently enough to enrage none other than Ronald Reagan, then the governor of California, who picked up the phone to give President Richard Nixon some incredibly offensive thoughts.
RONALD REAGAN [RECORDING]: Last night, I tell you, to watch that thing on television as I did.
RICHARD NIXON: Yeah.
REAGAN: To see those, those monkeys from African countries -- damn them, they're still uncomfortable wearing shoes.
NIXON [LAUGHING]: And the tail wags the dog there, doesn't it?
NIXON: The tail wags the dog.
HAYES: If you can tell by the hearty belly laugh Nixon gives Reagan in response to him calling African diplomats monkeys who just learned to wear shoes, he didn’t seem shocked or disgusted by that little racist rant. No, in fact Nixon loved Reagan's material so much he picked up the phone and repeated the sentiment to his Secretary of State.
NIXON [RECORDING]: I for example, just had a call from Reagan, California and uh, you know, he's been out there and so forth, and uh, as you can imagine, there's strong feeling that we just shouldn't -- as he said, he saw these, uh, these uh cannibals on television last night and he says, “Christ they weren't even wearing shoes.” And he says “and here, the United States is going submit its fate to that." And so forth and so on. And you know, but that's typical of a reaction, which is probably quite strong.
HAYES: Oh, yeah, just focus-grouping Ronald Reagan as what the reaction is in the country. Reagan's racist sentiment didn't die on the phone with Nixon, it was repeated and spread throughout the administration. The only reason we know about the call between Nixon and Reagan now is just because it was just released by the National Archives, thanks to a Nixon historian who reported on this new tape for The Atlantic, discovering that, quote, "When the National Archives originally released the tape of this conversation back in 2000, the racist portion was apparently withheld to protect Reagan's privacy." So for almost 20 years we didn't have this pretty important piece of information about how Ronald Reagan thought about the world. Ronald Reagan the sainted conservative hero who's largely responsible for popularizing the term and concept of the welfare queen. We have had tapes of Nixon saying extremely racist things for years. He was also a notorious and vile anti-Semite. And it's not just these two men. The racial politics of the post-Goldwater conservative movement have been pretty -- well, pretty bad for decades before Trump ever got into the White House. The old two-step was that these kind of things, the things Reagan and Nixon said, were said behind the scenes and they used code out in public. Donald Trump, well he just tweets it all out. As presidential candidate Marianne Williamson called it two nights ago, that is the dark psychic force of Trumpism.
MARYANNE WILLIAMSON [CLIP]: This is part of the dark underbelly of American society. The racism, the bigotry and the entire conversation that we're having here tonight. If you think any of this wonkiness is going to deal with this dark psychic force of the collectivized hatred that this president is bringing up in this country, then I'm afraid that the Democrats are going to see some very dark days.
HAYES: That line got some chuckles and some eye rolls at Tuesday night’s debate, but it's -- I don’t know, it's probably as good a description of the core of Trumpism as anything. It really is not an overstatement to say when the president stands before a crowd and incites it to chant "Send her back" as he did at her last rally or when his fans get up in the faces of the media and scream the Nazi term for the lying press.
TRUMP SUPPORTERS [CLIP]: Lugenpressa, that’s right.
HAYES: Lugenpressa, yeah, normal thing to say. Or when Trump traffics in dark conspiracies of the deep state and his followers fall down the deranged and dangerous rabbit hole of the QAnon conspiracy, when Donald Trump does that he is quite literally drawing from the well of the worst, most dangerous impulses that humans have in politics. And I think it's kind of important to remember that. That those are the stakes of what our politics are at this moment. Does this darkness continue to be stoked by the most powerful man in the world or not?