A former adviser to President Ronald Reagan said Tuesday he was appalled and enraged over an insinuation by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., that the popular two-term president was racist. And, he added, Reagan would have felt pretty much the same way.
“I was appalled and I was angry, and Reagan would have been angry, too,” Mark Weinberg said on “The Story with Martha MacCallum.”
Guest host Sandra Smith asked Weinberg why her comments had stirred up such a strong reaction.
“Because it isn’t true, It couldn’t be more untrue. And it took a lot to get Reagan angry — but this charge is one that would have made him so,” Weinberg said.
While appearing at the SXSW festival in Austin, Texas., freshman lawmaker Ocasio-Cortez spoke about Reagan and Reaganism, among other issues. She said he pitted the “white working class” against the “brown and black working class.”
“One perfect example, I think a perfect example of how special interests and the powerful have pitted white working-class Americans against brown and black working-class Americans in order to just screw over all working-class Americans … is Reaganism in the '80s, when he started talking about welfare queens,” Ocasio-Cortez said.
"So you think about this image of welfare queens and what he was really trying to talk about was … this, like, really resentful vision of essentially black women who were doing nothing, that were 'sucks' on our country.”
Many conservatives criticized the New York congresswoman for her comments, while some progressives applauded them.
Weinberg says Reagan was raised to look past color; he called Ocasio-Cortez’s comments “dishonest.”
“He was raised from being a little boy to treat people equally and not to look at people on the basis of color, and for anyone to suggest otherwise is wrong, is dishonest and is just not true,” Weinberg said about his former boss.
Fox News’ Martha MacCallum contributed to this report.