“My Father at 100,” a book by Ron Reagan, will be published ahead of the former president’s 100th birthday anniversary on February 6. On Friday U.S. News & World Report released excerpts from the book that suggested President Reagan had Alzheimer’s while in office.
Michael Reagan, the former president’s adopted son, wrote via Twitter on Saturday, “Ron, my brother was an embarrassment to his father when he was alive and today he became an embarrassment to his mother.”
He also wrote, “My brother seems to want [to] sell out his father to sell books..my father did not suffer from Alzheimers in the 80’s.”
Michael, who hasn’t spoken with his brother Ron since shortly following President Reagan’s death in 2004, told Annie Groer of Politics Daily that the inheritance from Reagan’s estate, “wasn’t enough for Ron or for anybody to retire on” and said that Ron “needs to own this deal because it’s a conspiracy theory that everybody has to be involved in, including my father’s own children.”
The book describes Ron’s unease over his father’s mental capacity early in Reagan’s presidency.
“Three years into his first term as president, though, I was feeling the first shivers of concern that something beyond mellowing was affecting my father,” Ron writes in the book.
“I didn’t want my father to feel stupid. If he was going to shoulder massive responsibility,” he continues. “I wanted him to feel on top of his game. If he was going to fulfill his duties as president, he would have to be.”
The book describes particular concern by his son during a 1984 presidential debate between Reagan and Walter Mondale.
“Some voters were beginning to imagine grandpa—who can never find his reading glasses—in charge of a bristling nuclear arsenal, and it was making them nervous,” Ron writes in the book. “Worse, my father now seemed to be giving them legitimate reason for concern. My heart sank as he floundered his way through his responses, fumbling with his notes, uncharacteristically lost for words. He looked tired and bewildered.”
Ron writes that even President Reagan himself became concerned when in August 1986 “he had been alarmed to discover, while flying over the familiar canyons north of Los Angeles, that he could no longer summon their names.” President Reagan announced that he had Alzheimer’s to the country in 1994, six years after leaving office.
Ron Reagan Jr. is a liberal political commentator, while Michael Reagan is a conservative political consultant. Michael Reagan is also releasing a book ahead of his father’s 100th birthday, titled, “The New Reagan Revolution: How Ronald Reagan’s Principles Can Restore America’s Greatness.”