The Reagan brothers are taking sibling rivalry to a new level. With dueling books and ideologies, the pair’s wranglings are national news. At stake: the legacy of the 40th president of the United States, and their father, Ronald Reagan.
Michael Reagan has taken to the airwaves in recent days to defend his father’s memory against allegations made by his younger brother Ron Jr. in “My Father at 100” that President Reagan showed signs of Alzheimer’s while in office.
Ron Jr. claims the symptoms of the disease began to show during his father’s 1984 debate with Walter Mondale.
“My heart sank as he floundered his way through his responses,” Ron Jr. writes.
Micheal Reagan, who also has a new book about his father “The New Reagan Revolution: How Ronald Reagan’s Principles Can Restore America’s Greatness,” appeared on Fox and Friends Tuesday morning to say the allegations are completely out of line.
“It was not present. It was not present until the 1990s and to believe that you have to believe [he had it during] the speech he gave at the Brandenburg Gate June 12th of 1987. What he did at Reykjavik when he was there with Mikhail Gorbachev, all the things he accomplished in the last years of his administration,” Michael Reagan said.
Ron Jr., however, believes Reagan’s performance speaks for itself.
“Today we are aware that the physiological and neurological changes associated with Alzheimer’s can be in evidence years, even decades, before identifiable symptoms arise,” Ron Jr. writes. “The question, then, of whether my father suffered from the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s while in office more or less answers itself.”
Michael Reagan, who serves on the board of the the John Douglas French Alzheimer’s Foundation, said his brother has been improper.
“I was absolutely outraged, dealing with [Alzheimers] on a regular basis like I do, that Ronald Reagan’s own son would say something of that nature and give fodder to people on the left who have not liked my father and used that disease against my father for many many years.”
Michael Reagan said the only reason he can imagine Ron Jr. would make such claims is that he is trying to sell books.
“There is nothing that backs him up,” Michael said.”There is no piece of evidence, anywhere on the planet. In order to believe what my brother says there has to be this giant conspiracy which includes every member of the family. There is no such conspiracy.”
Nancy Reagan has not commented publicly about the allegations.
The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation said the charges are false.
“[T]his subject has been well-documented over the years by both President Reagan’s personal physicians, physicians who treated him after the diagnosis, as well as those who worked closely with him daily,” the foundation said in a statement. “All are consistent in their view that signs of Alzheimer’s did not appear until well after President Reagan left the White House.”