Independent news has never been so important.

Did you know that you can get Democracy Now! delivered to your inbox every day? Sign up for our Daily News Digest today! Don't worry, we'll never share or sell your information.

Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon Make Racist Remarks in Newly Released 1971 Audiotape

HeadlineAug 02, 2019

A 1971 audio recording made by Richard Nixon has been made public, revealing then-California governor and future President Ronald Reagan calling African people “monkeys” as President Nixon laughed in agreement. In the recorded phone call, Reagan is heard using the racist slur about African delegates to the United Nations who voted to seat representatives from the People’s Republic of China rather than the U.S.-backed government-in-exile in Taiwan.

Gov. Ronald Reagan: “Last night, I tell you, to watch that thing on television as I did.”

President Richard Nixon: “Yeah.”

Gov. Ronald Reagan: “To see those, those monkeys from those African countries — damn them, they’re still uncomfortable wearing shoes!”

President Richard Nixon: [laughter]

In other taped phone calls recorded the same day, President Nixon is twice heard referring to African delegates as “cannibals.” The National Archives released parts of the taped conversations in 2000 but edited out racist portions — allegedly to protect Reagan’s privacy. Under a court order, the tapes should have been made public by 2013 but only entered the public domain two weeks ago.

The original content of this program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Please attribute legal copies of this work to Some of the work(s) that this program incorporates, however, may be separately licensed. For further information or additional permissions, contact us.

Non-commercial news needs your support

We rely on contributions from our viewers and listeners to do our work.
Please do your part today.
Make a donation