New audio surfaced earlier this week of two American presidents sharing a laugh over a racist remark. In audio obtained by The Atlantic, Ronald Reagan is heard using racist language in reference to African delegates at the U.N. during a conversation with Richard Nixon. The conversation occurred in 1971 before Reagan became president and while Nixon was still in office. In the conversation, Reagan's heard referring to the African delegates as monkeys, a term that carries heavy racial connotation.


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"Last night, I tell you, to watch that thing on television as I did,” Reagan told Nixon who replied, "Yeah." "To see those, those monkeys from those African countries—damn them, they’re still uncomfortable wearing shoes!” Nixon got a good chuckle out of that statement. 

The whole conversation stemmed from Reagan's feelings towards the Tanzanian delegation dancing at the General Assembly. It came after the U.N. voted to withdraw Taiwan, a country that Reagan strongly supported. Nixon later recounted the conversation to Secretary of State William Rogers without omitting Reagan's nasty comments.

"As he said, he saw these, uh, these cannibals on television last night, and he says, ‘Christ, they weren’t even wearing shoes, and here the United States is going to submit its fate to that,’ and so forth and so on,” he's heard saying in the newly surfaced audio recording.