President Ronald Reagan wanted to arrange a face-to-face meeting with John Hinckley, the baby-faced gunman who tried to assassinate him, Reagan biographer Craig Shirley tells Newsmax TV.
"He tried to reach out to John Hinckley several months after the shooting," Shirley said Friday to J.D. Hayworth on "Newsmax Prime."
"He wanted to meet with and tell the young man that he forgave him. He was talked out of it, but it was something that he wanted to do very much."
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Hinckley attempted to kill Reagan in Washington, D.C., on March 30, 1981, in an effort to impress actress Jodie Foster who he was obsessed with from the Martin Scorsese film "Taxi Driver."
Reagan, shot in the chest and in the lower right arm, suffered a punctured lung and internal bleeding, but recovered. His press secretary James Brady was paralyzed for life.
Shirley — author of "Last Act: The Final Years and Emerging Legacy of Ronald Reagan,"
published by Thomas Nelson — said Reagan's quest spoke "volumes about his Christian ability for forgiveness."
"He would've done so, but interestingly enough, Hinckley had six different psychiatrists and they advised Reagan that Hinckley was the most self-absorbed patient they had ever seen in their lives," Shirley said.
"[They said that] for Reagan to meet with him would've been vindicating to Hinckley. It would've sent a message to him that what he had done was justified and that would just drive him deeper into psychosis."
"[It's] not because they feared for Reagan's life or anything, but simply because Hinckley would've reacted badly."
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