Ron Reagan speaks publicly for the first time since his father’s funeral in a candid and emotional interview with NBC’s Chris Matthews, to be broadcast on “Today” 7 a.m. ET and “Dateline NBC” 8 p.m. ET, Friday, June 18.
More of the interview will appear Monday, June 21, on MSNBC’s “Hardball with Chris Matthews.” 7 p.m. ET.
Excerpts from the interview are below:
On his mother’s involvement with stem cell research
Ron Reagan: She’s where she always has been which is very pro-embryonic stem cell research not just for people with Alzheimer’s, which it may or may not help with that. But there are a lot of other diseases, diabetes, Parkinson’s, on and on.
For the federal government, for this administration to stand in its way just to pander to people who, well-meaning as they may be, are, I think, ignorant of the facts—is just unconscionable to me. I mean, this is just...intellectually untenable their position...if they want to be against embryonic stem cell research, okay. But then you have to be against—invitro-fertilization as well. So, if you’re going to be against one, you have to be against the other. But, of course, that’s a political non-starter...it’s intellectually and morally inconsistent. And, you know, they’re making moral arguments. So, they’d better be consistent with that. And they’re not.
His father being on the $10 bill
Chris Matthews, host: What do you think about your dad bumping—Hamilton?
Reagan: No, he wouldn’t want that. Actually, I spoke to my mother again about this on the way back to the house after the Friday, the final day. And she said, she didn’t support that at all and...that he wouldn’t. He would never have wanted to bump another President off of a currency to put himself on. That’s very un-him, you know.
On the national funeral service
Reagan: My memories of my father are mostly fond ones. And we just felt that we were doing something for him and I think something that he would have appreciated. I think he would have been overwhelmed by this outpouring also. We just wanted to do right by him, you know? Conduct ourselves in a way that would have made him proud.
His eulogy for his father
Reagan: You know, it’s funny, all week, of course I’ve been very emotional. My only concern really was how am I gonna keep this together? There were moments where you really have to bite down pretty hard. But for some reason when I got up to the library—all that just sort of melted away and I felt very calm and relaxed. And I remember my father saying that, when he was gonna give his father’s eulogy, that he was also very nervous about doing that and whether he’d be able to.
And that he remembered hearing his father’s voice saying, “It’s alright. It’s alright.” And so I listened.