For years, the city of Berlin, Germany has declined to erect a statue in honor of former President Ronald Reagan – now Trump administration officials are taking matters into their own hands.
Reagan famously asked Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to “tear down” the Berlin Wall in 1987. The momentous speech came to symbolize the contrast between freedom-focused American values and the oppression of communist regimes.
Coming November 8 pic.twitter.com/XUbGYBS1Wu
— US-Botschaft Berlin (@usbotschaft) November 5, 2019
After years of wavering from Berlin politicians, Trump officials are unveiling a 7-foot statue to honor the late president this week, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The statue will be placed on the U.S. Embassy’s terrace and will overlook the spot where Reagan’s iconic “Tear down this wall” speech took place.
Some of the city’s resistance to granting Reagan a statue might stem from pushback from leftists, who, as the Journal noted, sparked violent riots when he visited Berlin.
“There have been many U.S. presidents who could be honored. At least until now,” Sabine Bangert, a city official affiliated with Germany’s liberal Green Party, told the Journal.
The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation, which commissioned the statue, expressed disappointment that it couldn’t be placed on city soil, according to the Journal.
But some are just happy to see Reagan commemorated.
“At least this extraordinary leader has been honored in this city that is in his debt,” said Frank Henkel, a Berlin government official who helped get a plaque honoring Reagan approved despite opposition from leftists.
One of Reagan’s speechwriters, Clark S. Judge, told the Journal that Reagan “felt very, very strongly about Berlin.”
“He felt Berlin stood for freedom, surrounded by a totalitarian regime, and he saw it as his job to stand by the people of Berlin,” Judge said.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will formally inaugurate the statue on Nov. 8, exactly one day before the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.