President Donald Trump may well be "The Great Twittercator" — but he doesn't need to respond to every attack from the press or by liberals, political commentator Michael Reagan told the Conservative Political Action Conference on Friday.
"Let the left disintegrate itself," the eldest son of former President Ronald Reagan said at the conference's "Ronald Reagan Dinner" at National Harbor outside Washington. "You don't need to help it. It's already going there.
"They were attacking him relentlessly on a regular basis, but my father didn’t feel the need to answer every time someone attacked him.
"He felt that he had better things to, in fact, do other than spend half the day attacking those who were attacking him," Reagan said.
In a session moderated by radio talk-show host David Webb, Reagan noted the vitriol his father faced from Democrats during the Iran hostage crisis before he was inaugurated in 1981.
"He allowed the left to sell the Iranians on what he might, in fact, do," he said. "And he knew that if he didn't deny it, let them go ahead and sell it.
"And, of course, on the day my dad is sworn in, who goes free? All the hostages.
"Had he answered his detractors … that may never have happened," Reagan said "My dad really understood that."
In dealing with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Reagan said that Trump must "go with 'trust but verify.'
If you're going to quote my father — 'make America great again,' 'peace through strength' — then you need to quote that one also.
"You have a KGB man running Russia," he continued. "That's who you have, and he's never going to tell you the truth.
"He's never going to be honest."
Reagan then noted that during his father's two terms in the White House, the Soviet Union "did not take over one square inch of land anywhere in the world.
"That you cannot certainly say for the last administration.
"You've got to be tough with them because it's about gaining respect," Reagan told Webb. "It's about respect.
"It's not about 'Am I your buddy?' because they'll never be your friend — but about how you're going to gain the respect of the Russians and their leaders.
"If you don't gain that," he warned, "you won't get anywhere with Putin or anybody else in that area of the world."
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