Historian Brinkley to Newsmax: Reagan Treated Thatcher With Deference

Monday, 08 Apr 2013 12:32 PM

By David Yonkman, Washington Correspondent

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The late President Ronald Reagan enjoyed former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s character and personality so much, he would put her on speaker phone in the Oval Office so that aides could hear her speak, presidential historian Douglas Brinkley told Newsmax.

“He just got a kick out her aura, steadiness, and resolve,” Brinkley said. “He was close to others, but nothing like Margaret Thatcher.”

Thatcher died Monday at age 87 after suffering a stroke.

Brinkley said Reagan and Thatcher gelled in part because they saw eye-to-eye concerning the liberal excesses in the United States and socialist overreach in Great Britain during the 1960s and 1970s.

As champions of free markets and limited government, they both sought to curtail labor unions from gaining too much power. “They both believed in clipping the wings of the labor unions,” said Brinkley.

Brinkley noted they didn’t always agree, especially over Britain’s conflict regarding the Falklands Islands after Argentina invaded the South Atlantic archipelago in 1982.

When Reagan objected to the British fighting over the small islands, Thatcher asked if he would seek U.S. sovereignty over a similar attack against portions of Alaska.

They agreed on issues far more than they disagreed, Brinkley noted, including Thatcher’s helping to convince Reagan that former Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev was someone they could work with as the Cold War came to a close.

“He would treat her with the deference of Mother Teresa,” Brinkley said. “He was very deferential because he admired her so much.”

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