Patti Davis says current candidates don’t have a clue on what former President Ronald Reagan would think of them. Davis claims that her father would be appalled, and if he were to enter politics today, the GOP would reject him, according to MSNBC.
Davis gave a radio interview with Michelangelo Signorile on Sirius XM Progress, where she said the current candidates are “so not like him.” Patti is a lifelong progressive who began using her mother’s maiden name in college to distance herself from her father.
“My father would be so appalled at what’s going on, and he would be so appalled at probably all of these candidates,” she said. “I don’t think he would be a Republican. And if another Ronald Reagan came along, I don’t think the Republican Party would accept him.” According to her 2004 memoir she and her father, who died that year, reconciled late in his life.
Patti Davis claims the current candidates would be unrecognizable to Reagan. For example, the former president signed into law the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, which granted amnesty to millions of undocumented immigrants who had entered the country before 1982. None of the current GOP presidential candidates back amnesty, and the party’s official policy platform is to reject “any form of amnesty.”
Still, Reagan remains a powerful figure in the GOP’s mythology, invoked frequently by Republicans as a champion of sensible conservatism: Reagan was mentioned 45 times in the second Republican debate in September. “The Gipper” was invoked an additional six times in the first Republican debate.
Adding to these comments, Patti Davis reserved her greatest disdain for U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, a frequent Reagan-invoker, saying he uses her father’s name to promote an agenda he would have found distasteful-more than any other Republican candidate for president.
Her mother, Nancy Reagan, responded favorably to the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling and also appears to have a dim view of the current presidential candidates, Davis said.
“She was very happy about that decision,” Patti said of Nancy Reagan. “I don’t talk to her too much about politics currently. She’s 94 and I think she has the right to live out the rest of life with a little bit of peace, which cannot be found in the current political scene. But you know, I don’t think she’s too happy about anybody on the current roster right now. I mean, there’s nobody presidential. Not in that group anyway.”
Asked if Jeb Bush, whose family was tied to the Reagan family for 8 years in the ’80s while Jeb’s father served as Reagan’s vice president, was presidential, Davis responded, “Well, I don’t think he’s presidential, do you?” Patti also imagined her father’s views about the GOP resistance to gun legislation today and the current climate of gun violence, given Reagan’s support of laws restricting guns.
“He came out for the Brady bill in, I think, it was 1991,” she said of the bill that mandated federal background checks and eventually became law in 1993, named for Jim Brady, Reagan’s former press secretary who was paralyzed after being shot during the assassination attempt on Reagan. Reagan also supported the ban on assault weapons, passed in 1994, and which Congress and President George W. Bush allowed to expire in 2004. “I don’t think he’d ever be able to conceive what’s going on now” she observed, “the amount of gun violence or weaponry.”
While Patti Davis also says the current candidates doesn’t have a clue, adding, her father would “not be able to conceive” the level of gun violence in the country today. She argued Reagan, who was shot in 1981 but survived, would be a stronger advocate of gun control than today’s Republicans, who almost universally oppose it.