GOP Candidates' Reactions To Nancy Reagan's Death Were Kind, But Also Missed The Point
Former First Lady and political activist Nancy Reagan died Saturday, and as the news broke, those most dedicated to her and her husband's political legacy took to social media to express their condolences for the loss. The remaining GOP candidates responded to Nancy Reagan’s death on social media Sunday morning, sharing their sadness and offering thoughts and prayers for the Reagan family and the nation.
Sadly, none of the candidates went out of their way to talk about Nancy's own political ideals or accomplishments, generally putting the impassioned activist only in context of her husband. It might not be that surprising, considering some of Nancy Reagan's political positions didn't line up with her husband's conservative ideals — she was supportive of abortion rights (although personally against it for religious reasons) and lead the charge to lift restrictions on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. Yet leaving out Reagan’s own political achievements and the causes that were important to her does the beloved First Lady a serious disservice by failing to properly honor her memory.
Remembering Nancy Reagan is important because she helped pave the road for politically active first ladies and set the tone of the role in the 21st century. Her husband's party, which still so often celebrates his leadership, took time to pay tribute to Reagan's legacy, if in an insufficient way.
Trump, who actually stole Ronald Reagan's campaign slogan, shared this short and simple tweet in between political attacks on Marco Rubio, New York Times columnist David Brooks, and the plaintiff in the ongoing Trump University lawsuit.
The current second-place candidate likes to compare himself to Ronald Reagan, and even trots out a Ronald Reagan impression at fundraising parties, but he got shut down by Stephen Colbert in September when he tried to make the comparisons stick.
Rubio actually saved Nancy Reagan from a fall at the Reagan Presidential Library in 2011, which makes his statement feel even more genuine.
Kasich actually received an endorsement from Ronald Reagan's son with his first wife, Jane Wyman, and posted the announcement to his Twitter account just before the news of Nancy Reagan's death broke. Michael Reagan echoed Kasich's sentiment with his own statement posted to Twitter Sunday morning. "I am saddened by the passing of my step mother Nancy Reagan...She is once again with the man she loved.God Bless..." he wrote, shortly followed by another tweet that read, "Nancy is where she has always wanted to be with her Ronnie...Now she is at peace..."
Reagan's death is a loss for the entire nation. The Republican candidates, who hope to inherit the mantle forged by Reagan's husband, will likely continue their condolences at Thursday night's debate.