Reporter's pocket book: When Margaret Thatcher and Mikhail Gorbachev reunited to honor President Reagan

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Editor’s notice: This story first ran on Fox information April 9, 2013, however has been republished following the Tuesday announcement of Mikhail Gorbachev’s demise.

The calendar be taught June 2004. nonetheless it was positively the ‘80s.

A trio of the world’s preeminent leaders from the waning days of the chilly wrestle obtained here collectively for the final time. Icons, they have been as indelible from the cultural supplies of the final decade as “The Cosby current” and “household Ties” airing again-to-again on Thursday nights, cult movement pictures like “Heathers” and “The Breakfast membership,” and little outdated ladies demanding “the place’s the meat?”

however this wasn’t like a rock band hitting the avenue for a reunion tour. The flag-draped casket flanked by an honor guard inside the midst of the Capitol Rotunda defined that. 

This was farewell. 


FILE - Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, left, former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney attend the state funeral of former U.S. President Ronald Reagan at Washington National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.

FILE – Former Soviet chief Mikhail Gorbachev, left, former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney attend the state funeral of former U.S. President Ronald Reagan at Washington nationwide Cathedral in Washington, D.C.
(Reuters/Kevin Lamarque)

they’d go to their pal one final time in a second. however for now, they waited.

They have been an factor of a line of these that stood inside the hall working between the Rotunda and the outdated Senate Chamber. the lads wore darkish suits. the ladies, darkish attire.

however this duo stood out amongst the numerous completely different mourners.

For him, there was the vascular, port-wine birthmark.

And for her, there was the purse.

The purse. 

In completely different occasions, the purse would possibly dangle from the left forearm as she waved to the gang or photographers.

however on at the present time, she clutched it shut to her physique like a satchel stuffed with diamonds.

U.S. President Ronald Reagan, left, and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev leave Hofdi House after finishing their two days of talks during a mini-summit in Reykjavik, Iceland, on Oct. 12, 1986.

U.S. President Ronald Reagan, left, and Soviet chief Mikhail Gorbachev depart Hofdi residence after ending their two days of talks all by way of a mini-summit in Reykjavik, Iceland, on Oct. 12, 1986.
(Reuters/Nick Didlick)

Amid the murmuring, nobody actually thought a lot about it. however this was the ‘80s. And right here you had Mikhail Gorbachev, the earlier primary secretary of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, and the becoming Honorable Baroness Margaret Thatcher, former prime minister of the united kingdom and Northern ireland …

To say goodbye to Ronald Wilson Reagan, the fortieth president of the usa.

Gorbachev moved to the Rotunda and patted the coffin of the one who declared his nation “The Evil Empire.”


Reagan and Gorbachev have been the ‘80s prime figures as leaders of the world’s solely superpowers. nonetheless it was Thatcher who launched them collectively.

It was Thatcher who first met Gorbachev upon his ascendency inside the Kremlin. Thatcher said, “I like Mr. Gorbachev. we’re ready to do enterprise collectively.” Such a iron-clad endorsement from the Iron lady went an excellent method with Reagan. That prompted arms summits in Geneva and even a failed set of talks in Reykjavik, Iceland. Some argue Reykjavik was finally worthwhile — as a end result of the two sides realized how shut they have been to getting a treaty.

It was Gorbachev — and his station in life on the helm inside the Kremlin — that launched Thatcher and Reagan collectively: united of their disdain for communism.

And right here it was Reagan’s passing that launched them collectively underneath the Capitol Dome on this somber event. Thatcher stood quietly inside the Capitol hall, ready to pay her respects to her pal. For Reagan trusted her like no completely different overseas chief. She approached Reagan’s coffin inside the Rotunda deliberately — and with some assist. Ruby pink lipstick and a single strand of thick pearls stood out in the direction of her black ensemble. Thatcher reached out delicately, stroked her proper palm throughout the American flag that swathed Reagan’s casket as if she have been petting an animal.

completely different mourners seemed throughout the Rotunda. They spoke in hushed tones. They dabbed at their eyes with Kleenex.

Reagan’s coffin by no means left Thatcher’s steely gaze.

U.S. President Ronald Reagan, center, and his wife, Nancy, listen to Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev speak at the White House on Dec. 10, 1987.

U.S. President Ronald Reagan, center, and his spouse, Nancy, take heed to Soviet chief Mikhail Gorbachev communicate on the White residence on Dec. 10, 1987.
(Reuters/Gary Hershorn)

In February 1985, Thatcher’s embrace of Reagan was on current all by way of her speech to a joint session of Congress. on the time, Thatcher grew to become the principal British prime minister to deal with each the residence and Senate since Winston Churchill in 1952.

She applauded Reagan’s method with Gorbachev, saying it “launched the Soviet Union to the bargaining desk in Geneva.” Thatcher additionally stood foursquare behind Reagan’s plan for an space-primarily based missile protection system to shield in the direction of a Soviet assault, a lot to the pleasure of Republican lawmakers. The formal identify of the missile system was the Strategic protection Initiative (SDI). nonetheless the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., had dubbed it “Star Wars” for its seemingly sci-fi ideas of taking pictures lasers into outer residence.


An financial conservative, Thatcher drew the ire of Labour collectively with her funds cuts and social service reforms — to say nothing of bands like Pink Floyd and The conflict who took their grievances collectively with her on to vinyl. And Thatcher took the event on Capitol Hill to implore Washington to harness spending.

“We assist so strongly your efforts to minimize again your funds deficit,” Thatcher said. “No completely different nation on the planet will be immune from its outcomes — such is the affect of the American financial system on us all.”

The message nonetheless resonates in the present day as lawmakers grapple with out-of-administration spending and blunt spending mechanisms like sequestration.

Ronald Reagan statue in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda.

Ronald Reagan statue inside the U.S. Capitol Rotunda.
(Chad Pergram/Fox information)

however in her presentation to Congress, Thatcher saved her reward for Reagan, talking simply days after his second inauguration (additionally held inside the Capitol Rotunda as a outcomes of a bitter 1985 chilly snap).

“there is a mannequin new temper inside the usa,” Thatcher instructed lawmakers. “A customer feels it instantly. The resurgence of your nationwide pleasure is style of tangible. Now the photo voltaic is rising inside the west.”

Thatcher went on to declare her speech earlier than the joint session of Congress was “a quantity of the transferring occasions of my life.” 

This week, the residence returned the favor, approving a decision honoring Thatcher “for her life-prolonged dedication to advancing freedom, liberty, and democracy and for her friendship to the usa of America.”

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When the residence accomplished for the night, it adjourned in honor of Thatcher — the identical gesture it made to Winston Churchill when he handed away in 1965.

Then-residence Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) recognized as Thatcher “the best peacetime prime minister in British historic previous.”

Mikhail Gorbachev and Chad Pergram

Mikhail Gorbachev and Chad Pergram
(Chad Pergram)

Then-residence Minority chief Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., hailed Thatcher for her “regular hand in our battle to win the chilly wrestle, serving to carry down the Berlin Wall, brick by brick.”

maybe that sentiment is merely acceptable.

inside the Capitol Rotunda stands a statue of Reagan. the backside is lined with objects of the Berlin Wall — eternally linked to Reagan collectively with his 1987 exhortation “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.”

Reagan’s line is with out question a quantity of the seminal moments of the final decade.

So of that ‘80s troika, simply one remained: Gorbachev, who outlived each the Soviet system and his fellow leaders.

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The ‘80s are prolonged gone. decreased to a Sirius/XM channel cranking out Duran Duran and The Thompson Twins. in any other case you will current you with the selection to spy reruns of “St. Elmo’s hearth” on cable.

however politically, they rolled out the final playlist of the ‘80s inside the early 2000s when the trio said goodbye to at least every completely different underneath the Capitol Dome.