Maneuvering behind the scenes to support her husband was Nancy Reagan’s specialty. Once Ronald Reagan became president, Nancy Reagan conducted careful surveillance, gathering information and gossip from a vast network of social friends in Washington, New York, and California, and relying on the president’s aides. Her circle included several longtime Reagan friends from Southern California who served as members of an unofficial kitchen cabinet for Reagan while he was governor and presidential candidate. Largely at Nancy’s instigation, the Reagan family developed good relations with the Georgetown social group, an eclectic group of journalists, lobbyists, and former government pooh-poohs. Many of these people were Democrats, but they welcomed a conciliatory approach to the president and first lady after the impasse Carter presidency. even Washington Post Publisher Katharine Graham, whose paper endorsed Jimmy Carter in 1980, dined with Reagan at his Georgetown home shortly after Reagan’s victory. The two women became friends.
As it happened, Schultz also enjoyed a cordial friendship with Graham. His mother, Agnes Meyer, met Schultz during the Kennedy administration when she served on an advisory panel he chaired. When Schultz reappeared in the capital as Nixon’s Secretary of Labor, he developed a warm relationship with Graham, despite the cold relations between the Nixon White House and the White House. Post As the Watergate scandal unfolded. In brazen defiance of Nixon, Schultz frequently invited Graham to the White House tennis court, an act of blatant disrespect that both Schultz and Graham apparently relished. “One of the great bonds I have with George is that he invited me to play tennis on the White House courts while Nixon was president, an act of extreme courage and even defiance,” she later said. Whether Graham and Nancy Reagan compared notes about Schultz is not known, but their mutual admiration of him was a timely coincidence that may have reinforced the first lady’s attitude toward Schultz.
Nancy Reagan did not attend policy meetings or immerse herself in policy issues. But she was fiercely protecting her husband. After the 1981 assassination attempt, he began consulting an astrologer, hoping to learn when and where it would be safe for the president to travel. She had a keen interest in how history would judge her husband, and she had a subtle instinct for sensing whether officials were selflessly serving her husband or pursuing their own interests. She became concerned that the administration’s aggressive stance with the Soviet Union would prevent Reagan from achieving anything positive as post-Cold War president. She wanted, as she later said, “to encourage Ronnie to consider more friendly relations with the Soviet Union.” She said, “For years it bothered me that my husband was always being portrayed as a belligerent by his opponents, simply because he believed in strengthening our defenses.”
Richard Helms, a friend of Reagan’s who served as director of the CIA, said, “Nancy Reagan was keeping track of everything that was going on with regard to Ronnie—who was undermining him, who was supporting him.” He distrusted Reagan’s previous secretary of state, Haig, from the start, thinking he was more interested in gaining power and controlling foreign policy than in supporting the president. “I never liked Haig,” she told Vanity Fair Years later She didn’t like Clark either. “Bill Clark, who came in as deputy secretary of state in 1981, was another bad choice in my opinion. I didn’t think he was qualified for the job – or for his subsequent position as National Security Advisor. I was not alone in feeling this way; He embarrassed himself before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee when he could not name the Prime Minister of Zimbabwe. Clark was under Ronnie’s administration in Sacramento, but even then I never really got along with him. He struck me as a user – especially when he traveled across the country and claimed to represent Ronnie, which was generally not true. I talked to Ronnie about him, but Ronnie liked him, so he stayed with me longer than I expected.
She once candidly described how she perceives her role to Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney: “I save Ronnie from myself. You know, he has a big Irish heart. He’s got everybody. and he does not see when he is being blinded, or when people are acting from motives that are less than noble. And once he does, he never acts upon them. I do.” Although Schultz did not know Nancy Reagan well when she became Secretary of State, he understood that she had enormous influence in the White House. “If you have any intelligence, you don’t make an enemy of the first lady, especially Nancy Reagan, because she was very strong,” he said.
“If anyone had to say, ‘Who had the biggest influence on Ronald Reagan?’, it would without a doubt be Nancy,” Schultz said. “I think she basically wanted a constructive outcome. She saw Reagan as a person who could get things done.
Over time, he artistically developed his relationship with her. Colin Powell said, “George was good at making these kinds of inevitable connections.” Schultz and Nancy Reagan crack a joke about their seat assignments at the state dinner. She recalled, “He was always trying to chart the seating at our state dinners so that he could sit next to the prettiest girl in the room! At every state dinner, George would take me aside and remind me that I had given him that evening.” s ‘glamour girl’. At one such dinner, he was in ‘seventh heaven’ to have the opportunity to dance with Ginger Rogers. Carved out the picture dancing with him: “What a joy it was for me! You know, for the first two minutes I could have sworn I was dancing with Fred! Here’s to another round.” My best wishes, Ginger.” Rogers and Fred Astaire co-starred and danced together in a series of musicals filmed in the 1930s. Schultz’s eyes lit up decades later when she recalled the dinners.” Nancy Reagan was one of the most beautiful in the White House. attended dinners. I doubt anyone has done this. He always fixed me up with a Hollywood starlet as my dinner partner. At a dinner with a high-ranking Chinese official, which the President could not attend due to illness, Schultz got the chance to dance with Nancy. She sent him a picture of the moment with the inscription, “Dear George, my turn.”
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