User menu

Utility Nav

User menu

News

Worldview Weekend

The World's Premier Biblical Worldview, Web-Based, Radio, and Television Network.
Help Us Spread The Word

Try Worldviewpedia Search

Signup and become a member today.

WorldviewRadio.com Exclusive: Michael Reagan Responds to the Movie The Butler and How it Falsely Portrayed His Father, President Ronald Reagan

Brannon Howse is host of the daily, live, national radio program “Worldview Weekend Radio” which airs on 50 stations live each day at 1pm CT. The program can also be heard at www.worldviewradio.com. Brannon has been a friend of Mike Reagan’s for almost twenty years. Brannon served as Mike’s education reporter for many years and served as his literary agent for his best-selling book, “Twice Adopted.” Brannon was also the executive producer of a television production that featured Mike speaking about his life story and testimony in front of 2,000 people at one of Brannon's Worldview Weekend conferences. Mike was very gracious in giving Brannon and his radio audience the first interview on his response to the movie The Butler and how it portrayed his father, President Ronald Reagan. Here is a transcript of a portion of this interview. The complete interview can be heard by members of the Worldview Weekend Situation Room at www.situationroom.net

 

Brannon Howse: All right, Michael.  Let’s talk about this movie that’s come out this last week.  I guess it’s called The Butlerand it’s making a lot of national news, at least among conservatives because it did exactly what many expected.  It tried to rewrite history, but you know history.  You had a front row seat to that history and you saw it.  I think we have the first account from you now on this, and so we’re pleased to be able to come right to you and have you set the record straight.  Tell me what you know about the film, what it portrayed and then you, Michael, tell us the true history.

 

Michael Reagan:  Well, the interesting thing is I knew the butler because remember, he retired in 1986.  So I would see him over that five-year period between ’81 and ’86, when my father became President of the United States and of course, stayed until the end of the 1988 and 1989 when he left the White House and turned it over to George Bush.  Even the butler, in writing his own history, does not portray Ronald Reagan and Nancy Reagan the way it’s portrayed in Hollywood. 

 

It’s not a surprise that they always try and take a dig at my father and somehow paint my father as a racist and have things said in his ears that weren’t said by people who were there at the White House.  I mean the last thing he was was racist and to take the apartheid issue and turn it into a race issue, I mean some people just see through the eyeball of a race issue or racism.  Other people, like Presidents, have to look at the whole world and look what’s going on within the world and make decisions based on that, not based on race. 

 

 When you think about Ronald Reagan, here’s a man whose best friend in college, Eureka College, was an African American, but he never saw him as an African American.  He saw him simply as a friend and that’s how Ronald Reagan saw everybody.  He didn’t see people in colors of black and white.  He saw people as Americans, as friends and what have you. 

 

He tells the story in his own book “An American Life” about going not far from Eureka College to play football in another town and two of the players on the team who were black were not allowed to stay at the same hotel as the rest of the team.  My father told the coach that you tell these kids there’s just not enough room and I’ll take them back to my house.  So my dad got in the car and drove the kids back to his own home in Tampico in Dixon area of Illinois and now, my grandmother, his mother opened the door wide.  They came on in.  They had dinner and then spent the night and dad drove all three of them back for the game even the next day.  That’s the kind of person he was.

 

Then what really gets silly, really gets silly, the stories that aren’t told.  My niece, Ronald Reagan’s other grandchild is a girl named Rita, Rita Reagan, adopted by my sister, Maureen, prior to her death in 2001.  She adopted Rita from Uganda.  This is not a racist family.  He is not racist, but this is Hollywood again, trying to once again tear down the image of Ronald Reagan and it’s what Hollywood does.  And unfortunately, there’s too many people that go see this movie who want to believe Ronald Reagan was a racist and then buy into the storyline, which was not even the storyline of the real butler.

 

Brannon Howse:  Well, I read the article yesterday on Breitbart about it and in fact, the person writing the article went into detail about someone that he went to high school with who, I think you also know quite a bit about.  I think her name was Margaret.

 

Michael Reagan:  Actually went to college with her at Eureka College.

 

Brannon Howse:   College.  Okay.

 

Michael Reagan:  She graduated from Eureka College the same year my father did and Margaret was the last one to die.  She died about a year and a half ago.  She was the last member of that graduating class of 1932 to pass away.  She lived in Houston, Texas and when she died, I think she was like 101 years old.  Again, they were good friends.

 

In fact, it’s interesting.  When Mikhail Gorbachev spoke at Eureka College to the Reagan Society there a few years ago, I helped set that up with John Morris, who runs the organization, the Reagan Society at Eureka College.  He came in to speak and Eureka College – my dad never knew he was going to have a library, so he used to send everything to Eureka College.  So they have their own museum, if you will, of Ronald Reagan and of course, in that museum is one of the yearbooks from that era.

 

 In the Soviet Union, ever way – the children of the Soviet Union were all made to read “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.”  That’s how they could try to control the children in Russia, telling them stories about America.  American author, “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” look at these people, you want to stay here.

 

 So you have Mikhail Gorbachev raised with the idea that Ronald Reagan hated blacks, that anybody like that just – you know, African Americans were nothing and so on and so forth.  So this is what his belief system is.  He comes to Eureka College and goes to Eureka College and speaks to the Reagan Society, adoringly, by the way, about my father.

 

 Afterwards, he’s taking the tour of that museum and he sees the yearbook and he sees Margaret and he starts to cry.  He starts to cry because all of his beliefs that he had learned growing up in the Soviet Union, all of the things they had fed into him about America, about blacks, about Ronald Reagan, whatever it was, all those things just flashed in front of him.  They weren’t true, because here was a school, Eureka College, that during that period of the 1920s and 30s, blacks went to that school, blacks played in sports in that school, blacks graduated from that school and Ronald Reagan, those were his friends and his roommates and his college buddies.  And those are the stories that don’t get told about Ronald Reagan or even alluded to in The Butler.  Instead, they want to play the race card. 

 

 They want to make Ronald Reagan out to be a racist, which is so far from the truth, and that’s unfortunate because the butler was a great, good man, 34 years at the White House.  When you get a job at the White House, granted, whether you’re running the elevator or you’re a butler, remember – who remembers the Reagan’s that moved him from butler to maitre d’?  I believe that’s a move up, not a move down.

 

When you get a job at the White House, it’s a job for life.  I mean you walked in and they ultimately carry you out when you’re done.  That’s how that works.  There 34 years, he saw so much and yet, they take him to use him as a battering ram against my father.

 

Brannon Howse:  Michael, you’ve had so many unique experiences over the years, we won’t spend much time on this, but what’s it like to stay, as you did, so many times in the White House and to work around this staff that is there, regardless of the President, regardless of the party, they’re not political – at least if they are, they keep it to them self – and they serve that family and many of them, they really fall in love with that family.  And it’s difficult when that family finally leaves because that staff has been there with them and has seen them in their personal moments.

 

Michael Reagan:  These people who work at the White House are so honorable.  They really are.  They don’t tell secrets.  They don’t – that’s not what they do.  They’re just honorable, wonderful people.  I remember when we went back there, I think it was for the, gosh, the second inauguration and actually, Cameron at that time, so it’s 1985 so Cameron’s seven and Ashley’s like four. 

 

 We’re back there and we’re upstairs in the apartments where we were staying.  The butler comes in and says – asks Cameron, “What would you like to have, Master Cameron, for dinner.”  And my son’s seven years old.  So what do you think a seven-year-old asks the butler –

 

Brannon Howse:   A hamburger.

 

Michael Reagan: That’s exactly.  What kind of hamburger?

 

                                   Brannon Howse:  Cheeseburger.

 

Michael Reagan:  From where?

 

Brannon Howse:  McDonald’s.

 

Michael Reagan:  You got it.  So my seven-year-old said “Yeah, I’d like to have a cheeseburger and a vanilla shake from McDonald’s.”  I look at my son, Cameron, and I say, “Cameron,” I said, “we’re at the White House.  That’s like the greatest restaurant on the planet.  I think they know how to make hamburgers.”  “I know, dad, but got to have a cheeseburger, vanilla shake and fries from McDonald’s,” and the butler says, “Cool.  Don’t worry about it.”  So Colleen and I – and Ashley order something.  I forgot what she ordered because it didn’t have the same effect. But Colleen and I, we went to get ready because we were going to an event that evening with my father and Nancy.  And we got ready.  As we’re coming out to say goodbye to the kids, the butler’s coming up with a silver serving tray and he is with Cameron and Ashley in the celarium upstairs.  He asked Cameron to sit down at the table.  He sits down at the table and he takes the silver serving top off of the tray and there’s his vanilla shake, his McDonald’s cheeseburgers and his order of fries.  And I just looked at the butler and I just laughed.  He said, “This is the White House; whatever you need.”

 

Brannon Howse:  That’s a good story.

 

Michael Reagan:  That story, I don’t think, made it into The Butlereither, did it?

 

Brannon Howse:  That’s good.

 

Michael Reagan:  No.  Because again, I’m one of the ones that knows that story.  I forgot to tell you that story the other day.  I might have told you that story a long time ago but you didn’t know who it was.

 

Brannon Howse:  No, I didn’t.  I remember hearing the story, but I didn’t know who it was.  One of these days, you need to write a book about some of these things because you had a lot of years to see a lot of things and I know that you could write many books on it, but people enjoy these kind of stories.  You know that, right?

 

Michael Reagan: Yeah, I do.  I go out and I speak.  People want me to speak on a certain issue and then I do a Q&A and all the Q&A is about these stories.  So I know that’s what you guys want to hear because –

 

Brannon Howse:  It is.

 

Michael Reagan:  – I was.  I was a witness to history.

 

Brannon Howse: You really were.

 

Michael Reagan:   I’m also a witness to people who re-write history.