Reagan’s estranged daughter, who hated him, says parents would have approved redefining marriage


April 19, 2013 – Even though Ronald Reagan has been dead for eight years, Patti Davis is not done defiling her father’s memory. And now she has dragged her ailing mother into it, too.

Earlier this month, she claimed her father would have supported gay “marriage.” Now, she says since her mother, Nancy, did not contradict her, she must support redefining marriage, as well.

Davis said she never discussed the issue with President Reagan, but she believed he “would be puzzled…why anyone would have a problem with people wanting to be married, because he wanted government out of people’s lives – that he would not understand the intrusion of government banning such a thing.” She told homosexual activist Howard Bragman, “This is not what he would have thought government should be doing.”

This week, she announced triumphantly that Nancy must support gay “marriage,” because if she “had disagreed with what I said publicly about my father, she would have said something publicly.” (You can hear the audio below.)

But her argument from silence is dubious. Nancy did not publicly scold her daughter about her past statements, even when Patti was charging $39 a ticket to tell audiences that her mother beat her.

It may be that Nancy supports the issue. She was always to her husband’s left on social issues, like abortion. But Ronnie?

Davis told the New York Times, “All I know is the heart of the man who raised me as my father.”

But would the Gipper have supported the redefinition of marriage? And just how well does “Davis” reflect her father’s heart?

Patti Ann Reagan appears to be in the fifth decade of her adolescent rebellion. She led high-visibility campaigns against her father’s policies before and during his presidency, wrote a series of poison-pen books about her parents and, at the age of 41, appeared in a Playboy pictorial that should have given everyone second thoughts about the sexual revolution.

Since his elections, she has found her calling in demeaning her parents. She regularly referred to her father as “distant” and Nancy as “abusive.” Even the president’s critics found Patti’s three, thinly veiled autobiographical books overly jaded. A contemporary review of the 1986 novel Home Front said, “Patti Davis takes her prodigious knack for nursing a family grudge to its lowest common denominator.”

Coincidentally, her latest revelation comes as Davis is peddling her newest book, a first-person lesbian “love” story. She insists she is not gay – she just writes like she is. Very convincingly. (Her literary genius can be downloaded for $2.99.)

Two years ago, Davis said she was inspired to start a new workout regime by staring at a naked picture of bodybuilder Lisa Lyon. “Her muscles were lean, defined, and beautifully sculpted,” she reflected. This led Davis to her second nude shoot at age 58. (Shudder. Shudder. Shudder.)

Having failed to generate a sustainable income with those endeavors, she is distorting her father’s views for the LGBT crowd.

But Davis’ comments shipwreck on her father’s public record.

Almost exactly 30 years ago Reagan told the National Association of Evangelicals, “The family has always been the cornerstone of American society. Our families nurture, preserve, and pass on to each succeeding generation the values we share and cherish, values that are the foundation of our freedoms.”

In a speech remembered for another line branding the USSR as an “evil empire,” Reagan told the church-folk, “I want you to know that this administration is motivated by a political philosophy that sees the greatness of America in you, her people, and in your families, churches, neighborhoods, communities – the institutions that foster and nourish values like concern for others and respect for the rule of law under God.”

He lamented that “no one seems to mention morality as playing a part in the subject of sex.” [1]

The president who signed the first Child Abuse Prevention Week proclamation and added “sexual abuse and exploitation” the following year seems unlikely to have put children into the homes of gays and lesbians, where they are more than four times as likely to report having been raped and up to 12 times as likely to have been sexually touched by a family member than those from intact nuclear families.

This would be the same Ronald Reagan gay militants accused of “genocide” for not instantly finding a cure for AIDS. Talk show host Tammy Bruce recounts how her friends had champagne at the ready in the event that he died.

True, Barry Goldwater said he changed his position on homosexuality, abortion, and school prayer in his last Senate term because of his limited government views. [2] Those abrupt changes led one of his supporters, longtime Congressman Bob Dornan, to say that when he entered politics, “I was a Barry Goldwater conservative. I still am, and he’s not.” Andrew Busch wrote that, in addition to the newfound philosophical justification for positions he had rejected his entire career, Goldwater “also had personal reasons: one daughter and three granddaughters of his had had abortions; and a grandson and a grandniece were homosexual.” [3]

If nothing else, Reagan proved he did not allow his children’s views to alter his own.

However, Reagan was at heart a conciliator. He did not let political disagreements become personal feuds. After leaving office, knowing he was in his declining years, he wrote a number of heartfelt letters to his rebellious daughter in hopes of patching up their relationship. One of them read:

Dear Patti,

With myself going on 81 years, I first can’t sit back and make no effort to change our family situation. I’ve heard and read statements by you about the biography you are working on and how you plan to explore what you say are the failures of your family.

Patti you are hurting us – your parents – but you are hurting yourself even more. We were not a dysfunctional family. Was it dysfunctional to man the hot dog stand at an every year affair at your school? Was it dysfunctional to have trips every summer at Coronado and Frances Beach? I wish you would sit down with me and look at photos of these occasions and many others. Was your mother [Nancy] dysfunctional when she planned your wedding?

Patti in our meeting at the office you said your mother didn’t like you. That’s not true. Yes she’s unhappy about the way things are but again I can show you photos in which the love between you is unmistakable. And these pictures are at virtually every stage of your life. Pictures don’t lie.

Well I could go on like this but Patti as I wrote at the beginning of this my years are limited. I can tell you what it’s like to have regrets over things I did or didn’t do before my parents left this earth. I don’t want you to face that. But most important Patti is that you realize your Mother and Father have great memories of our “first born” – a beautiful little girl who used to come into our bedroom early in the morning before we were up and slip into our bed between us. That is just one of many memories we cherish and treasure.

Please Patti don’t take away our memories of a daughter we truly love and who we miss.

With Love,


Presented with such a tender and private heirloom, she refused his pleas for reconciliation and sold the letter.

Patti later appeared to claim that the letter was never sent. However, she sold it in 1992 for $500 plus half of the proceeds of its final sale. She could have purchased it back for $10,000 but declined.

Whatever her definition of family, America can do without it.


1. Southern Baptist leader Al Mohler recently noted America’s tendency to marginalize morality when discussing same-sex “marriage.”

2. Somehow, liberals did not hail this virtue when Goldwater was opposing the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the entire ediface of the Great Society for the same reasons. These remain hot issues for liberty-minded politicians.

3. According to his daughter Joanne, Barry personally arranged her illegal abortion. His wife, Peggy, was a founding member of Planned Parenthood of Arizona in 1937.

A significantly shorter version of this essay was cross-posted at