Reagan Supporter Met With Leaders to Influence 1980 Election: NYT

  • GOP flesh presser Ben Barnes mentioned his mentor labored to persuade the 1980 election in prefer of Reagan.
  • Former Texas Gov. John Connally requested Center East leaders to prolong the discharge of Iranian hostages.
  • “Historical past wishes to grasp that this came about,” Barnes advised The New York Occasions.

A former GOP Texas flesh presser got here ahead after 4 a long time to mention he witnessed his mentor, former Texas Governor John B. Connally Jr., assembly with Center Japanese leaders to ship a message: Do not let the Iranian hostages loose till after the 1980 election between Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter. 

Ben Barnes, talking with The New York Occasions, mentioned he accompanied Connally on a 1980 shuttle via six nations within the Center East — Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Israel — and watched as his mentor requested quite a lot of leaders to relay the message to Iran. Barnes advised the Occasions that Connally, who misplaced the Republican nomination to Reagan that yr, used to be hoping to lend a hand him win in an effort to protected a place with the management.

Connally briefed William J. Casey, then-campaign director for Reagan, in regards to the shuttle later on, in keeping with Barnes. Casey requested Connally whether or not “they have been going to carry the hostages,” regarding Iran — led on the time by way of Ayatollah Khomeini — Barnes advised the Occasions. 

The Occasions famous there is not any affirmation past Barnes’s anecdote, however 4 other folks Barnes confided in through the years mentioned the tale he shared with the paper is in line with what he advised them. 

Each Connally and Casey died ahead of Barnes got here ahead together with his account — Connally in 1993 and Casey in 1987 — and didn’t publicly talk about the occasions he disclosed whilst they have been alive.

In 1979, Iranian militants stormed the US Embassy in Tehran and took dozens of American citizens captive over what they believed used to be undue US affect on their nation’s politics. The kidnappings led to over a yr of tried negotiations and a failed rescue project greenlit by way of the Carter management.

Throughout the 1980 election, Carter’s failure to get the hostages launched ahead of the overall election, and the inside track surrounding it, is the place the time period “October marvel” originated.

Casey, who got here up with the time period, advised shops they feared Carter deliberate to make sure the hostages have been launched simply ahead of electorate went to the polls to lend a hand sway their choice in his prefer. On the other hand, this didn’t occur.

The captives have been freed by way of the Iranian executive mins after Reagan used to be inaugurated as president.

Barnes advised the Occasions the aim of the project to the Center East used to be to inquire in regards to the Iranian hostages, and Casey’s eagerness to gather information about the shuttle used to be proof of this to him.

“I’m going to pass to my grave believing that it used to be the aim of the shuttle,” Barnes advised the Occasions. “It wasn’t freelancing as a result of Casey used to be so considering listening to once we were given again to the US.” 

The Occasions notes, on the other hand, that there is not any proof Connally’s call for to prolong the discharge of hostages ever were given again to Iranians or if it influenced their choice to unlock the hostages after the election. There could also be no proof whether or not or now not Reagan used to be conscious about the conferences, however he did touch Connally once or more all the way through the shuttle, in keeping with historic paperwork reviewed by way of the Occasions.

Previous to Barnes’s interview with the Occasions, rumors prior to now swirled that actors related to Reagan can have attempted to persuade the election the usage of the Iran hostage disaster, however Space and Senate panels concluded there used to be no proof any individual related to Reagan’s presidential crusade tried to prolong the discharge of the hostages.

Throughout his 2nd time period, Reagan was embroiled in scandal after promoting palms to Iran regardless of a US industry embargo in an effort to unlock 7 American hostages in 1985.

Barnes advised the Occasions he in spite of everything determined to proportion the main points of the shuttle following the inside track that Carter admitted himself to hospice care. 

“Historical past wishes to grasp that this came about,” Barnes, now 85, advised the Occasions. “I feel it is so vital and I assume realizing that the tip is close to for President Carter put it on my thoughts increasingly more and extra. I simply really feel like we now have were given to get it down a way.”

Barnes and the Ronald Reagan Presidential Basis and Institute didn’t in an instant reply to Insider’s request for remark. 

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