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Reagan Library Declares War on Trump, GOP Base on Eve of Presidential Debate

Posted on Tuesday, September 26, 2023
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by Andrew Abbott
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93 Comments

AMAC Exclusive – By Andrew Abbott

Trump sitting and smiling, ahead of Reagan library republican debate

On Wednesday, the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library will host the second Republican Presidential Primary Debate. But overshadowing the event is the increasingly public feud between the library’s Board of Trustees – dominated by notorious establishment figures like Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan and former House Speaker Paul Ryan – and the runaway GOP frontrunner, former President Donald Trump, who notably still holds the support of the conservative voters once considered to be President Reagan’s base. Mr. Trump has notably elected to skip the Reagan Library debate and instead speak to union workers in Michigan at the same time. 

What was once a private schism spilled into the public square last week as a number of trustees anonymously revealed that they have been working against Trump for years. A Politico Magazine piece published on Friday titled “’Spoiled Brat in a Sandbox’: Inside the Feud Between Donald Trump and the Reagan Library” included anonymous quotes from several board members critical of the former president.

Among the most notable broadsides were accusations that Trump only wanted to “burn everything to the ground,” and admissions that Trump “drives [the board] nuts.” One trustee even compared Trump to the fictional evil dark wizard “Voldemort” from the Harry Potter book series.  

Beyond the juvenile barbs, board members revealed that a series of public events hosted at the Reagan Library following the 2020 election, entitled “A Time for Choosing” after Reagan’s famous 1964 speech, were indeed an overt attempt to turn the party against Trump.

The article notes that the trustees “invited Trump antagonists like former Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, former Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska and former Gov. Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas to speak.” No invitation was extended to Trump – who many Republican voters view as the heir to Reagan’s conservative mantle.

However, the board did extend invitations to Trump’s soon-to-be 2024 challengers, including former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, South Carolina Senator Tim Scott, and former Vice President Mike Pence.

At the time, the board defended the decision by stating that they asked no former president to speak at the library. One advisor to a board member openly scoffed at that explanation, telling Politico, “Yeah, right. Let’s go with that one.”

The open aggression toward Trump is perhaps not unexpected given the board’s makeup. Along with Noonan and Ryan, the list of trustees also includes noted Trump critic Condoleezza Rice, who served as President George W. Bush’s Secretary of State.

Fred Ryan, the Chairman of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute, which oversees the library and its board of trustees, co-founded Politico and spent nine years as the Publisher and CEO of The Washington Post. Those years included the entirety of Trump’s first term, in which the paper was notorious for false and biased coverage against the president, including promoting the debunked Steele Dossier while dismissing the Hunter Biden laptop as “Russian Disinformation.”

Historically, presidential Libraries have been charged with protecting the legacy of their respective leaders – not speaking for past presidents or wading into current political debates.

Yet earlier this month, almost every presidential library broke that precedent. 13 presidential libraries, from Herbert Hoover to Barack Obama, all joined together to sign an open letter “urging Americans to respect democratic institutions and uphold secure and accessible elections.”

The letter stated, “Free societies elsewhere contribute to our own security and prosperity here at home.” But that interest, they wrote, “is undermined when others see our own house in disarray…. Civility and respect in political discourse, whether in an election year or otherwise, are essential.”

The letter was widely reported as an implicit broadside against former President Trump for calling attention to suspect vote-counting practices in the 2020 election. The only library not to sign the letter, the Eisenhower Library, declined to do so after alleging there was “no discussion” on the precedence or motivation for said letter.

The letter was notably “spearheaded” by the George W. Bush Institute Executive Director, David Kramer. Before serving in this post, Kramer was most famous for leaking a copy of the infamous and debunked Christopher Steele Dossier as a “Hail Mary” to prevent Trump’s election.

In 2016, Kramer was personally given a copy of the document from Steele with the explicit instructions to share it with only the late Senator John McCain. Instead, Kramer leaked it to Buzzfeed News, who published it in its entirety. Though easily debunked, the allegations became the crux of the media’s relentless assertion that Trump conspired with Russian President Vladimir Putin to steal the 2016 election.

The following year, in an NPR interview, it was revealed that Kramer leaked the memo to “thwart the swearing-in of Trump. And he believed that if this information got out, it might lead to – somehow to Trump’s inaugural being put off.”

Just like Donald Trump in 2016, Reagan became the voice of the “forgotten men and women of America” when he burst onto the national political scene. His eight years in office marked one of the greatest periods of American economic and cultural flourishing. His conservative approach to governing became the standard for an entire generation of Republicans.

Perhaps most importantly, Reagan’s social and economic vision also appealed to working class voters who voted for him in the millions. It was the votes of these so-called “Reagan Democrats” that put Reagan over the top in 1980 in must win states for the GOP like Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Michigan.  Ironically, it was the votes of the children and grandchildren of these Reagan Democrats that propelled Trump to victory in 2016 and whose support President Trump is again making a pitch for this week in Michigan at the time of the second GOP debate. 

The Reagan library board members are charged with protecting this legacy. Yet in perverting their platform to pursue a personal vendetta against Trump, they are betraying everything Reagan fought for, joining with the establishment class against the GOP’s conservative base, including its all-important working-class voters. Likewise, in deciding to aggressively attack Trump in the run up to their debate that he is skipping, the Reagan library board is also unwittingly highlighting that former President Trump is the only GOP candidate today who has actually won, with the support of the heirs of the Reagan Democrats, the must win states of Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, and who perhaps alone is capable of winning them again, as he is likely to demonstrate on Wednesday in Detroit.

Andrew Abbott is the pen name of a writer and public affairs consultant with more than a decade of experience in DC at the intersection of politics and culture.

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Gary Bloomfield
Gary Bloomfield
6 months ago

How did this group get to be in charge ???? shame on them for tainting the Reagan Legacy !!!!

PaulE
PaulE
6 months ago

Looking at the current make-up of the Board of Trustees of the Reagan Library, it should be abundantly clear that Reagan fought his entire political life against these types of establishment, do nothing “go along to get along” type Republicans that fought so hard to keep him from either winning the Republican nomination for POTUS and then subsequently fought him on many of the policies he chose to pursue during his presidency.

Peggy Noonan regularly writes these days about how Biden is either simply misunderstood, a bit naive or is doing a wonderful job as POTUS. He just needs to better communicate his successes to a public that does not appreciate all he has done. She is a big advocate of the “go along to get along” establishment Republican style that crippled the Party for years up until Reagan. Where the primary job of the Republican Party, in their eyes, is to simply raise taxes to pay for the non-stop string of runaway spending plans coming from the Democrats and hoped to be liked by a few of them. Hardly what one would call representative of the Reagan philosophy.

As for Paul Ryan, he did everything he could, along with Mitch McConnell, in 2017 and 2018 to slow down or derail as much of the Trump agenda that the people elected Trump to enact. He quickly found a new home on the Board of Directors at FOX soon after Murdock bought his son Lachlan on board and began remaking the network into a more progressive style of network in-line with CNN. So, I would hardly give an credence in anything being espoused by Paul Ryan.

The letter this group released on Trump is NOT surprising. As noted, the Bush family is also involved, and they have hated Trump since he defeated Jeb Bush in the primaries leading up to the 2016 election. The Bush Family is also bankrolling a number of anti-Trump groups, so this sort of response involving the Bushes is to be expected at this point. It is ironic that a family that was so anti-Reagan, in terms of his policies and style of governance, would now be in the position to leverage Reagan’s good name to push the very things that Reagan fought so hard against in his lifetime.

Rik
Rik
6 months ago

Why should Trump “debate” other Republicans wannabe candidates? He already has the support of the majority of Conservative Republican voters so he has nothing to gain by debating fellow Republican presidential candidates! As I constantly repeat here, the establishment Republican Party Leadership has DONE NOTHING TO CORRECT the CHEATING that ALLOWED Bozo Biden and the Democrats TO STEAL the LAST ELECTION so We the People and America’s Freedoms are in Jeopardy of being REPLACED BY COMMUNISM!

A Voter
A Voter
6 months ago

The more republicans, democrats main stream media and the view gals attack Trump, the more certain I am that he is the right man for the job. If all the above hate him so much it is because they are terrified what he will do to the status quo and that is exactly what this country needs destroyed.

J. FARLEY
J. FARLEY
6 months ago

Well, well, the board can go P$$$ up a rope, I am tired of the RINO, who always will kiss up to the left, never fight for my Constitutional Rights and Civil Liberties.
Just one time I would like to see the RINO’s bash the left as they do President Trump, I don’t care who my President is as long as they have trump policies.
God Bless America, long live Conservatives and our Freedoms!

Donna
Donna
6 months ago

The board member who compared DJT to “Voldemort”, from the Harry Potter series obviously doesn’t understand that Voldemort was a”purist” and hated anyone who was not a full blooded witch. The board members disdain DJT for similar reasons, his inclusiveness of all those who love America. The board should take a look in a mirror and see their own reflection of Voldemort.

Keri
Keri
6 months ago

And there it is. Once again, there is the Bush’s interfering in American Democracy. Their stench is palpable.

William Hodge
William Hodge
6 months ago

Well, I feel a good deal better knowing that the library’s board opposes President Trump. It tells me that he is doing the right things. Those that put the Republican Party above the wishes of the people are now getting what they deserve, an independent candidate and people that despise the leadership of the party.

Garyk
Garyk
6 months ago

Well we all know Peggy and Paul the traitor ring are both useless, same old Washington establishment pretenders.
They need to go with the marxist democrat party clowns.
They being willing to accept the same failed ways, makes President Trump more appealing!
NO MORE of the politics and policies as usual, America MUST be First, not politicians!

Jerry
Jerry
6 months ago

I have been making donations to the Reagan Library but that is stopping until the Trump hating RINOs are kicked off the board.

Philip Seth Hammersley
Philip Seth Hammersley
6 months ago

I noticed the snubbing of all things Trump and no longer contribute to the Reagan library as I formerly did. Despite their personalities, Trump and Reagan had many similar positions and traits! Not surprised the Paul RINO is at it again; just like Fox News! What has RINO EVER done for our country?

Conservative Veteran
Conservative Veteran
6 months ago

This is what the establishment looks like. They would rather the Democrats win and destroy the country than support Trump to victory. Establishment Republicans otherwise known as RINO’s need to be shown the door. Then slam it behind them!

Stephen Russell
Stephen Russell
6 months ago

Damn debate team is all RINOs Haley Pence, Christie
among them
No change
GIGO

Myrna
Myrna
6 months ago

I am hoping Reagan Democrats will vote for President Trump.

Chicago Bill
Chicago Bill
6 months ago

Can’t believe that the Reagan Library board of Trustees is filled with Libs. How ironic is that.

patriot
patriot
6 months ago

President Trump doesn’t need to debate candidates opposing him, as we know his position on the topics. Trump is the only person who was tested and whose accomplishments are known to the World. He did all that he promised and more. It’s a shame that some of the Regan Library Trustees sully the Library’s name with political posturing. .

Anthony B Leonard
Anthony B Leonard
6 months ago

A despicable rats’ nest of phony conservatives. Ronald Reagan is turning over in his grave at who is representing his legacy. These are the same sorts of people he had to battle in the Republican Party when he was alive. Reagan and Trump may have had differences in style but not the substance of their views.

Patriot Eric
Patriot Eric
6 months ago

Oh boy, this is getting good!! The tsunami is coming through …. Nothing Can Stop What Is Coming!!
FJB .. MAGA .. TRUMP WON!

Bill Carson
Bill Carson
6 months ago

I loathe Noonan. I will be happy to vote for Trump. Many, many so called Republicans are really Woke Democrats in disguise.

Charles (Chuck) Castiglione
Charles (Chuck) Castiglione
6 months ago

Peggy Noonan and neocon Paul Ryan need to get the hell out of the way.Ryan is an A-hole and a grifter, Noonan needs to go back to the bleechers. The only person that is named in the above list is Senator Tim Scott. The rest are just in the way. Ronald Reagan is turning over in his grave with the people you have listed. None of them have a chance to win, period. I have always supported Ronald Reagan, he was way ahead of those in his time, he also liked President Trump. AMAC should not get off on the wrong foot with whese grifters posing as viable candidates for President, again the only worthwhile candidate in the abpve group is Senator Tim Scott. The rest of these individuals are just noise and are in the way. Wake up!!

beisbolfan
beisbolfan
6 months ago

So everybody hates former president Trump. Is that the message? Somehow it has not gotten to the millions of sane, adult white American citizens who plan to vote for him. For me, he is the only candidate I believe will do whatever it takes to stop the illegal alien invasion, find and deport all the phony asylum scammers that are already here, and withdraw the US from whatever stupid agreement we signed that obliges us to accept asylum seekers and refugees.

Melinda
Melinda
6 months ago

They are all RINOs, not conservatives. It’s amazing that Trump is so high in the polls(if they’re honest) when so many are working against him. You would think they’d have a clue, but are too focused on their 50 year old agenda. Maybe social media is good for something after all.

Newday
Newday
6 months ago

Just shows their ignorance and that the republican party has some folks that are not interested in what’s good for the American people, just their own selfish interests in their own little universe.

Robert Zuccaro
Robert Zuccaro
6 months ago

And this is why, while I might vote “Republican”, I do not identify as one! Trump doesn’t need to debate ppl trying tomake names for themselves. The GOP screw this election up and I’m going Libertarian! I’ve about had it with RINOs and Never Trumps.

Edmund
Edmund
6 months ago

How is “Executive Director,” David Kramer still employed there? He literally confessed with trying to interfere with an election, willfully pushed a hoax upon the American people that has done permanent damage to many institutions, and proves he’s part of a swamp of elitists who cry about “no one is above the law” while pursuing their own manipulative fraud on the public under their own delusion of righteousness.

  • I loved Reagan, but this guy is more STASI than Reagan.
LA Conservative
LA Conservative
6 months ago

I find this to be a very revealing article. Particularly in light of the fact that according to media sources, Gavin Newsom is going to attend this debate. The shear gall and chutzpah it would take for this turkey to show up at this event is absolutely breathtaking. And then for Republican committee to swing their doors wide open for him makes it even more disgusting. Especially the way they treated Larry Elder, who I believe qualified for the first debate in spite of the phoney excuse they threw up. And then his was refused entrance to the venue in Milwaukee!!
And they’re going to let this clown into an important Republican event? Maybe they should take a serious look at this committee. And the Trustees of the Reagan Library.

Nemo
Nemo
6 months ago

Oh yes, because if anybody knows how to win elections it’s Paul Ryan and Liz Chaney.

Jackiegirl
Jackiegirl
6 months ago

Paul Ryan and Peggy Noonan?? They need to be replaced! Traitors to the real cause of truth and liberty. We conservatives are very tired and sick of the old-school Republicans who have done nothing for the American people or the party. It will be difficult to continue our support of the Reagan Library and Conference center in Santa Barbara knowing that such “evil” is existing there in the selection of Board Members and the discussions to discredit the only candidate that can beat-out the Democrats in the next election! Donald Trump is the leading candidate chosen by the people of this party and MANY others who are sick and tired of what is taking place in our country right now. Give him his due respect.

David Millikan
David Millikan
6 months ago

Fire ALL Reagan Library Staff.
They call themselves Republican but their actions prove otherwise.

Ralph Sacrison
Ralph Sacrison
6 months ago

The Reagan Library board members rightfully fancy themselves as prominent persons. But before he sacrificed his business empire to public service, President Trump had accomplished more than virtually all of the board members. Together. He had a successful international business with virtually no employee complaints, even to this day. Nor do his customers seem to complain. So, all those board members, characterized with public sector sinecures, are terrified of the power of that one man and his legacy. And it is so interesting that he wields that power on behalf of the forgotten man and woman. So, I tolerate his mean tweets, now X’s, and will do so if he wins the nomination.

Steven
Steven
6 months ago

Trump has to start ignoring the pathetic GOP establishment and all left wing neoconservatives. It’s definitely time for a real American Citizens Conservative political party to take down the Democrat and Republican parties who are totally corrupt in every way!! Drain the horrible D.C.Swamp and move the US Government to South Dakota….

nasus
nasus
6 months ago

How dare they assume they have the right…
I hope the real conservatives who have donated to the library consider filing a complaint against the Board and individual Board Members since your funds pay their salaries and their only job as board members is to further the needs of the library and NOT to engage in political activism which we the donors are supporting!!

Cat Woody
Cat Woody
6 months ago

Let’s be clear, majority of Republicans cannot stand Paul Ryan and the part that do are no different from the crack smoking, sex obsessed, pedophile left.

P.S
P.S
6 months ago

Reagan was a true Patriot..These Bush Repubs are NOT. We have to get them out. They sold us out years ago.

Dave Coleman
Dave Coleman
6 months ago

I love Ronald Reagan and will be visiting the Reagan Museum again this week. I guess I will be wearing my MAGA hat. Ronnie would hate what the establishment Republicans have done to his party, and would approve of DJT’s battle to give the power back to the rank and file members.

Candace Gonzalez
Candace Gonzalez
6 months ago

President Reagan would be ashamed at what his library has become.

Jabba
Jabba
6 months ago

Any organization that includes the likes of Paul Ryan, Peggy Noonan, Condoleeza Rice, and Liz Cheney can go commit seppuku.

Louis
Louis
6 months ago

The Republican Presidential Primary Debate is of no consequence. There isn’t a single one of them that could garner enough votes to win a Presidential Election. The only candidate who is capable of winning a Presidential Election is President Trump.

Honey
Honey
6 months ago

Let’s see:
Rush – dead, but very supportive of Trump.
Buckley – dead but I know he would have supported Trump once he saw how he governed.
Reagan – dead but I have to believe he is sad about who is running his library. Certainly not Reaganites and I am sure he would be supporting Trump.
Mark Levin – the dour and pessimistic form of Rush, but always right and on target and his most recent book title is on point and I know he supports Trump.
And me – thoughtful and intelligent and I support Trump for 2024.
So those who do not support Trump are wrong and those who are running to replace him are wasting their time and mine.
Trump 2024!

Rita
Rita
6 months ago

Wow! The establishment, rino and communist wing of the republican party has been exposed yet again. I agree with Rik below, 4 hoursk ago. I’ve been saying for 13 years now that dems SUCKS: socialism, ugly communism kills societies. Now I realize, that establishment republicans fall into that category. The communists run the Reagan Ranch. Too bad. Another institution falling to the left propaganda. Thank goodness Mittens and Rat Paul never won their term in office.

nuthinmuffin
nuthinmuffin
6 months ago

Paul Ryan is a first class scumbag that helped Obama double the debt in 8 years. his wife Jenna, comes from a storied family of lib lawyers and politicians.

Marc Ziegler.
Marc Ziegler.
6 months ago

Sounds like my support of the Reagan Library will soon be ending. Stupid people with no grasp of awareness or reality, as I call them “Never Trumpers” have infiltrated everywhere. These people when not living under a rock, come out at times to destroy common sense and the world we live in. Donald Trump will have the last laugh when he becomes the 47th President of the United States in 2024. Go Trump and MAGA!

Madeline Mignone
Madeline Mignone
6 months ago

I find it appalling that the corruption of the Reagan legacy is being high jacked by a corrupted board. Better vetting of board members will only keep the Reagan Presidential Library true to his conservative legacy.

John
John
6 months ago

The library is a beautiful place once led by Reagan loyalists like Cap Weinberger, Ed Meese and of course Mrs. Reagan. I was long a supporter and contributor of that version of library and its missing. But with a bunch of Bushies now in charge – I have no truck for the place. It is a fraud, and not recognizable (by substance) to anyone who voted for or loved our 40th. He loved the ‘average’ American – and these folks quite frankly despise us and love power and endless warfare instead.
In my view, most establishment republicans are just grifters – as Ryan, Rove, Noonan, McConnell and the rest have just gotten rich on position and exploiting faint ties to our best President since Lincoln. Trump isn’t the answer to all our problems – but these people own more than their share of the mess we are in.

Philip Seth Hammersley
Philip Seth Hammersley
6 months ago

What planet are YOU living on? Your “boy” Biden and Saint Fauci are fattening both Big Pharma and the Big War!

Steven
Steven
6 months ago

I’m agree with DJ Trump ignore the ridiculous silly Republican debate run by big money typical RNC donors who are good at losing elections! I wouldn’t vote for any of these candidates!

Glen
Glen
6 months ago

This is exactly why I am NOT WATCHING the “DEBATES”. The
Reagan Library board doe’s not surprise me at all. Just check out the Ford Foundation and many of the other “Foundations” run by people who promote socialism if not outright Marxism and or communism. The Ford Foundation is why I will not buy a new Ford Product!

Pam Meger
Pam Meger
6 months ago

The swamp spreads wide and deep. Republicans are not immune.

Jeff
Jeff
6 months ago

Reagan is rolling over in his grave knowing Paul Ryan is in charge!!

Bobber
Bobber
6 months ago

Reagan as a President was as worthless as Carter and Biden. He always talked a good story but usually did the exact opposite. He kept Paul Volker, a disaster in his own right, as the Fed Chairman who was appointed by Carter. Because of Volkers policies a full third of the family farms in Iowa were foreclosed on. He doubled the National Debt just like every other modern President. He never told an original story. All his anecdotal stories were stories I had already heard as a kid. He was a coward in that he did not wipe Iran off the face of the Earth when he took office for the Hostage situation. Iran had little ability then to fend off America. Instead he traded Arms for the Hostages release. Trickle Down Reaganomics was a disaster and started the breakdown of the middle class that has finally happened. Americans bought his line of BS then as they have bought Obama’s and Biden’s line of sheite today. According to the book “Secrets of the Presidents” Reagan tried to join the Communist Party in the 50s but was turned down by the leader of the Communist Party because “He had no character and changed his mind with the wind”. Seems he hit the nail right on the head.

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