That Awful 'Racist' Reagan Visited Victims of Md. Cross Burning in 1982, Had Them Over For Two Subsequent White House Visits

September 1st, 2013 8:31 PM

Earlier this evening at NewsBusters, Tim Graham noted that the Washington Post gave space, in an item entitled "Reagan Historians to Decry 'Ahistorical Caricature' as Racist in 'The Butler' Movie," to refute the false portrayal of the Gipper in that film.

One more anecdote should be added in rebuttal to counter the "Reagan was a racist" lie. I'm referring to an event in 1982. Note that the related the unbylined AP report couldn't resist getting in a gratuitous dig (both reports at this post are reproduced in full for fair use and discussion purposes):


It's more than fair to wonder if the AP, by mentioning criticism that he was "insensitive to the concerns of blacks" — as if it were an established, irrefutable fact — wanted readers to believe that Reagan's visit was sheer opportunism.

Really? Then what explains the fact Reagan stayed in touch with the ironically named Butlers and had them over for two subsequent personal White House tours? This fact was reported by Bruce Johnson at WUSA Channel 9 in Washington on June 11, 2004, six days after Reagan died. Johnson also noted that the Butlers were the subjects of grief from both neighbors and even Reagan detractors after his 1982 visit (paragraph breaks are mine; video at link does not work):

College Park Maryland Couple Recalls Visit From Reagan

Eighteen years ago the President and Mrs. Reagan paid a visit to a College Park Maryland family after learning that someone had burned a cross on their front lawn.

It didn't matter that the incident had occurred five years earlier. President Reagan made the trip which seemed to carry no political benefit. In fact, it caused a lot of problems for the College Park couple.

Barbara and Phillip Butler are still holding on to the jar of jellybeans that President Reagan carried for their four year old Daughter Nathasha when he came to visit back in 1982. The President had read the morning of his visit that the College Park Couple had been awarded $23-thousand in damages for a cross burning on their front yard. The event drew local and national attention.

The couple had no way of knowing their white neighbors would resent the attention the President's visit brought to College Park; and were in no way prepared for the attacks from blacks who were angered by the President's policies.

It wasn't just one visit with the Reagans; the Butlers and daughter were invited to the White House twice for their personal tour and visit.

So this week while the Country bids farewell to its 40th president; Barbara and Phillip Butler are saying goodbye to two old friends. Phillip Butler is a Republican. Barbara is a Democrat.

Their daughter Natasha is a member of the Air Force Reserves at Andrews. She is on active duty cause of the War in Iraq. The couple now lives in Silver Spring, they stayed in College Park for nearly nine years, and both are retired from the Government Printing Office.

The recasting of history as Hollywood wants us to believe it occurred, instead of as it actually occurred, can't be allowed to stand, and must be confronted at every turn.

Cross-posted at