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Statement on the Passing of John McLaughlin

Statement on the Passing of John McLaughlin
August 17, 2016

The passing of John McLaughlin is also the passing of an era. As part of the Reagan Revolution, watching The McLaughlin Group was mandatory. For Zorine and me, it became a ritual to watch McLaughlin and then go out to dinner. We would always make sure we saw the show each Saturday evening, along with Agronsky and Co. John McLaughlin, RIP.


Reagan library, biographer slam judge’s ruling to release Hinckley from confinement || Washington Times

Reagan library, biographer slam judge’s ruling to release Hinckley from confinement

By Dave Boyer and Maria Stainer

A biographer of former President Ronald Reagan and the Reagan presidential library criticized a federal judge’s decision Wednesday to grant full-time release to John Hinckley Jr., the man who shot Reagan in 1981.

Biographer Craig Shirley blasted U.S. District Judge Paul Friedman, an appointee of President Bill Clinton, for issuing “a purely political decision.”

“Just as a jury of liberal Washingtonians came to the liberally biased verdict that John Hinckley was innocent by reason of insanity, so too is this decision,” Mr. Shirley said in a statement.

The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute also took issue with the judge’s decision.

“John Hinckley is responsible for the shooting of President Reagan and three other brave men,” the foundation said. “One died two years ago from the wounds he received. Contrary to the judge’s decision, we believe John Hinckley is still a threat to others and we strongly oppose his release.”

But Reagan’s son Michael Reagan, president of the Reagan Legacy Foundation, tweeted Wednesday: “My father did more than say the Lords Prayer. He lived it in forgiving John Hinkley Jr…Maybe we should do the same….Mike Reagan.”

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump also criticized the ruling. He said at a press conference, “John Hinckley should not have been released.” The candidate at first mistakenly referred to Mr. Hinckley as “David.”

The judge said in an order that Mr. Hinckley will begin a “convalescent leave” on Aug. 5.

Judge Friedman said “all of the experts and treatment providers” who testified during a court hearing agreed that Mr. Hinckley’s major depression and psychotic disorder were “in full and sustained remission and have been for more than twenty years.”

“Mr. Hinckley is clinically ready for full-time convalescent leave,” the judge wrote.

Mr. Hinckley attempted to assassinate Reagan on March 30, 1981, in front of the Washington Hilton Hotel in D.C. Reagan survived the bullet wound to his chest that required emergency surgery.

Three others were wounded in the attack — Secret Service Agent Tim McCarthy, District police Officer Thomas Delahanty and White House press secretary Jim Brady.

Paralyzed and using a wheelchair for years after, Brady became a fervent gun-control advocate with his wife, Sarah. When Brady died in 2014, the medical examiner deemed his death a homicide.

Sarah Brady was head of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence until her death last year.

After the shooting in 1981, Mr. Hinckley pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. He had delusions involving the movie “Taxi Driver” and of using the shooting to impress actress Jodie Foster, who starred in the movie with Robert De Niro.

Mr. Hinckley was sent to St. Elizabeths Hospital. Years later, he was able to walk off the grounds on a part-time basis.

Mr. Shirley called the judge’s decision Wednesday “outrageous.”

“No matter how much supervision he has, John Hinckley cannot be trusted to move and function in society,” Mr. Shirley said on Facebook. “Even though his victims, President Ronald Reagan and White House Press Secretary James Brady have passed on, Mr. Hinckley remains a threat. According to the Secret Service, he is still obsessed with Jodie Foster.”

He added, “Hinckley’s actions remain a terrible stain on American history and a reminder of the lifetime of damage that can be caused by one man in a matter of seconds.”


Statement of Reagan Biographer Craig Shirley on Release of Reagan Attempted Assassin


July 27, 2016

The decision to release John Hinckley, Jr. from St. Elizabeth’s psychiatric hospital after his attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan is outrageous, disgraceful and a travesty of justice. No matter how much supervision he has, John Hinckley cannot be trusted to move and function in society. Even though his victims, President Ronald Reagan and White House Press Secretary James Brady have passed on, Mr. Hinckley remains a threat. According to the Secret Service, he is still obsessed with Jodie Foster. Hinckley’s actions remain a terrible stain on American history and a reminder of the lifetime of damage that can be caused by one man in a matter of seconds.

This is a purely political decision by Judge Paul L. Friedman, who clearly wishes to corrupt Reagan’s legacy. Judge Friedman was appointed to the bench by President Bill Clinton in March of 1994. Just as a jury of liberal Washingtonians came to the liberally biased verdict that John Hinckley was innocent by reason of insanity, so too is this decision.

Hinckley is the murderer of Jim Brady and attempted murderer of Reagan, Police officer Thomas Delahunty and Secret Service agent Tim McCarthy.

Once again, corrupt liberal justice was served, but justice was not served for the four victims of Hinckley’s sick actions.

Cruz Not the First to Not Endorse Nominee || Newsmax

Cruz Not the First to Not Endorse Nominee

By Cathy Burke

Sen. Ted Cruz’s non-endorsement of GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump isn’t without precedent — it followed the example of GOP icon Ronald Reagan in 1976, a presidential historian says.

Reagan historian Craig Shirley, author of “Reagan Rising,” wrote on his website last March that the 40th president “did not speak of or even endorse the candidacy of Gerald R. Ford for president of the United States.” 

He also tweeted the assertion Wednesday:

Trump supporters are accusing Cruz of betraying Reagan’s legacy with the non-endorsement speech in Cleveland, including Trump campaign chairman Sam Clovis, Mediaite reports.

According to Mediaite political reporter Alex Griswold, however, Reagan’s 1976 address thanked Ford for being kind to him and wife Nancy, but then “pivoted away from Ford entirely” and praised the new Republican platform “and ignored the sitting Republican president standing ten feet away from him.”

“In essence, Reagan gave a Reagan campaign speech on the stage of a Ford convention.”

“It was only in the final seconds of his speech that he addressed the newly-minted Republican nominee again: ‘We must go forth from here united, determined that what a great general said a few years ago is true: There is no substitute for victory, Mr. President.’

“If broad calls for unity and victory are now counted as endorsements, than Cruz issued an endorsement yesterday,” Griswold writes.




By: Craig Shirley | July 24, 2016

In 1992, a beleaguered incumbent George H.W. Bush staggered into the convention city of Houston. He’d been bullied in the primaries by the American Firster Pat Buchanan and, having finally won re nomination, was faltering badly in the polls to both Democratic nominee Bill Clinton and Independent candidate H. Ross Perot. Former president Ronald Reagan went to Houston on Bush’s behalf, telling the thrilled Republicans in a humid and moldy Astrodome that he “warmly, genuinely, whole heartedly support the re election of George Bush as president of the United States!” And he meant it. Later that year, he campaign aggressively in California for Bush.

Reagan never, ever uttered such a phrase when it came to Gerald Ford in 1976. Not by a long shot. Not at the Kansas City convention and not afterwards in the fall. Nor did he ever campaign for Ford. These are matters of undeniable fact, despite the attempt of some Trump boosters to rewrite history by suggesting that Reagan really did support Ford, and Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas (A, 97%) was alone in not endorsing Donald Trump this time around. History is too precious and important to be rewritten by a few uninformed Trump revisionists at CNN, just to satisfy a new story line.

When a bloodied but unbowed Reagan reluctantly took the stage in Kansas City in August of 1976, he was bitter. Bitter and angry. His very close aide, Lyn Nofziger said of his longtime companion, “To my surprise, Reagan, who is seldom bitter, went to California a bitter man, convinced that Ford had stolen the nomination from him.” The Republican primary battle of 1976 was over, and as far as the nation was concerned, so was Ronald Reagan’s political career. Defeated and fuming, the man who bested and despised Ronald Reagan, asked him to the podium, but it was to show the world a unified Republican Party and not as any expression of kindness on Ford’s part towards Reagan.

Gerald Ford and Reagan differed as much personally as they did ideologically. The détente policies of Henry Kissinger, embraced by Ford, were reviled by Reagan. On foreign policy, Ford thought Reagan was a warmonger who would start World War III. At the lowest point, Ford actually ran television ads with the tagline “Remember, Governor Reagan couldn’t start a war. President Reagan could.” Reagan was fit to be tied, furious with Ford and Nancy Reagan was outraged. It was one thing for a liberal to hurl this awful insult at Reagan but quite another when it came from a member of his own party. Ford has crossed a line but he didn’t care, defending the ad to anyone who would listen.

Ford thought so little of Reagan, he attempted to fan the flames of his own draft campaign committee in the spring of 1980, as the Californian was marching to the nomination, just to stop him. He told reporters that Reagan was “too conservative” to win in the fall.

Ford’s longtime speechwriter, Bob Hartmann, wrote in his book, Palace Politics, how Reagan and Ford just didn’t get along and how Nancy Reagan and Betty Ford couldn’t be in the same room with each other. Nancy Reagan, in her book, My Turn, pretty much confirmed her dislike for the Fords as well. Others like Dick Cheney have also confirmed this unfriendliness.

Reagan got into the 1976 race in part because he was incensed by Ford’s snubbing of Alexandr Solzhenitsyn—at Kissinger’s suggestion—-seeing it a knuckling under to Moscow. And Ford’s signing of the Helsinki Accords, which essentially ceded Eastern Europe to the Soviets, and surrendering the West’s interests in the region.

Revisionist Trump supporters are deliberately confusing Reagan philosophy and good manners with an endorsement.

Ford offered one lame excuse after another on why he could not meet with the famed Nobel Prize winning author of The Gulag Archipelago, including conflicts with his daughter’s high school prom and he had to meet with the Strawberry Queen of West Virginia. Reagan welcomed Solzhenitsyn in radio commentaries and newspaper columns, while eviscerating Ford’s spineless conduct.

The depth of their loathing for one another was captured in the events that transpired before Reagan mounted the stage than night in Kansas City. Nancy and Ronnie were content to quietly watch Ford accept his party’s nomination from a crowded skybox above the stage. A quiet dinner with his family was the only event left on the Gipper’s schedule. As Reagan prepared to leave, an anxious and drunk RNC aide approached the Reagan team and asked for Reagan to join Ford on the stage, an offer which Reagan declined. Reagan’s team then received a flurry of calls, practically begging for Reagan to join Ford on the stage. Ford knew he needed unity and that meant getting Reagan on the stage, one way or another. Finally, Ford, in front of tens of thousands of supporters and a live national audience, asked his “good friend, Ron Reagan to come down and bring Nancy.” Only a few minutes before, Tom Brokaw of NBC News asked Reagan if he was going to address the hall that night and the Gipper replied “No.”

A seemingly clever, if not downright devious maneuver by Ford to get Reagan on stage, Reagan had nothing prepared. If he had declined, he would be seen as vindictive and mean-spirited, if he took the stage and made a fool of himself, all the better to solidify support behind Ford. After Reagan declined again and again, finally Ford added the weight of the entire convention hall and national television to his voice. With calls of “We want Ron!” “We want Ron!” and “Speech!” “Speech!” Reagan paused, and then moved slowly toward the stage.

Years later, Reagan, when president, kept a plaque on his desk with the words “There is no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he does not mind who gets the credit.” He knew Ford was not the man to lead the nation forward, but that was secondary, the greater principle was the conservative movement and the ideals that brought him there. With this, the livid and defeated Reagan took the stage and changed the nation forever. The speech he gave has been documented time and time again as one of his greatest and certainly his greatest extemporaneous speech. In it he celebrated a bold vision of America, without ever mentioning Ford. He never endorsed the man, only stating that we must go forward united. Revisionist Trump supporters are deliberately confusing Reagan philosophy and good manners with an endorsement.

After the delegates voted and narrowly chose Ford, the winner called on the loser by prior agreement. But Reagan has sent word beforehand via Dick Cheney to tell Ford not to offer the vice presidency to Reagan because the Californian did not want to embarrass the president by saying no. On the other hand, Ford was never going to offer it to Reagan, telling Cheney and others, “Absolutely not! I don’t want anything to do with that son of a bitch!”

The next day Reagan met with his staff and again, never mentioned Ford. When asked what the Reaganites demeanor should be towards the Ford people, Nofziger quipped, “Da meaner, da better.” Significantly, none of Reagan’s top aides went to work for the Ford campaign although a couple went to work for their old friend Dole.

As Ford lagged in the polls, Reagan reluctantly agreed to go out on the trail, but he went out for the conservative movement, not the man. He gave a 30-minute taped speech on the Republican and Democratic platforms, but not directly on Ford. Of the four commercials he made for the campaign, three promoted the platform and one did support Ford, but no endorsement. Only at the end did he say something about keeping Ford in his job. He campaigned with Bob Dole, but again, said little to nothing about Ford.

As Ford continued to sink, his team reached out to Reagan again and again. Reagan, in total, campaigned in 25 states, but for down ticket candidates, rarely mentioning Ford, and was even asked to become Honorary Chairman of the Ford Campaign, but he politely declined. When he spoke at a joint fundraiser in Los Angeles, he talked of the platform and of the party, but barely Ford. When even he did mention the candidate, his body language and voice were so visibly tortured that Washington Post reporter Lou Cannon, remarked dryly, “This is not much of an endorsement.”

Indeed, it was no endorsement at all.

In Kansas City, by every estimate, Reagan was finished politically. The only thing he could control was how he said goodbye. He was comfortable leaving quietly but Ford pushed him into a spotlight he never sought. In that moment he chose to go out, not publicly bitter, defeated, or angry but hopeful. He went out affirming “a platform of bold unmistakable colors with no pastel shades.” He chose to leave the stage, not a supplicant to a party line or to an accidental president, but as a principled man affirming a party that had chosen someone else. He knew there was no limit to what this movement could do or where it could go, and it didn’t matter who got the credit. The principle mattered most and the Party and conservatism mattered, not the person.