James Rosebush, the former chief of staff for Nancy Reagan, appeared on Breitbart News Daily Monday morning to reflect on the former First Lady’s passing.
His new book, True Reagan: What Made Ronald Reagan Great and Why It Matters, examines how Reagan’s legacy continues to shape the course of American history, while offering greater personal insight into the very private President and his First Lady.
“I think that they were the perfect compact,” he said of Ronald and Nancy Reagan. “She gave him strength where he had weakness, and vice versa for her. So they were not exactly alike, by any stretch of the imagination, but they filled each other’s gaps. It worked politically, it worked in the media… she was completely and totally, one hundred percent devoted to him, and to his well-being, and his success as an American leader.”
Rosebush added that her devotion to her husband didn’t prevent Nancy Reagan from being “a very accomplished woman” and an “independent thinker in her own right.”
He praised Nancy for her crucial role in President Reagan’s rehabilitation, after the attempt on his life in 1981, and fondly recalled Mr. Reagan showing off the muscles he gained by lifting weights to recover from his gunshot wound.
“He was the only person who knew how close he came to death,” Rosebush said of President Reagan. “When he decided that he had to forgive Hinckley, he was having trouble breathing, and he thought, ‘Well, this might be it.’ And it came to him that what he had to do was, he had to forgive his assassin. And when he forgave his assassin, he started breathing, and he knew that that was his solution.”
Rosebush said this illuminated the depth of Reagan’s character, showing how “he was really thinking of us, he was putting our fears to rest, even though we have no idea how fearful he might have been, because he kept it all locked up inside.”
He said Nancy Reagan would want to be remembered as the keeper of the Reagan legacy.
“She always said her life began when she met Ronnie… She was a worker, she worked very hard, and I think in addition to being a player in supporting the role of Ronald Reagan in putting the light back on in the shining city on a hill, I think it took two people to do that, and it was both of them. And I think what you see today, and yesterday, is this outpouring of a recognition of this role.”
The Reagan’s dignified sense of privacy was one reason most Americans didn’t fully appreciate the contributions Nancy made behind the scenes. Rosebush found today’s over-sharing politicians, with their emphasis on personal narratives and soap-opera star appeal, a striking contrast to the reserved First Couple he worked for.
“We knew Reagan was strong, he protected us, we like him as a leader, but we don’t know anything about him – and that’s principally because Reagan never talked about himself,” Rosebush observed. “Today, you have politicians, that’s all they talk about. They talk about how they grew up in poverty, it’s all personality-driven. Reagan was character-driven. He never talked about himself. He talked about America.”
His purpose in writing True Reagan was to share his personal experiences with the Reagans, so Americans could understand the essence of President Reagan’s character. Most other books have focused on what Reagan did, but Rosebush wanted to examine who he was.
“This is the time that we have to examine, for the good of our country, what it is that made Ronald Reagan great,” he declared. “And there’s only one thing that made Ronald Reagan great, and that was his character. His character, values, and faith.”
You can listen to the full interview with James Rosebush below:
Breitbart News Daily airs on SiriusXM Patriot Channel 125 weekdays from 6:00AM to 9:00AM EST.