The president's son, Michael Reagan, yesterday asked Nancy Reagan to apologize for saying that there "is an estrangement with Michael and there has been for three years."
"I'm hurt and stunned by the whole thing," Michael Reagan said last night in a telephone interview from Omaha, where he was celebrating Thanksgiving with his wife, Colleen, and her family.
"You could have blown us over with a feather. For her to make a statement like that the day before Thanksgiving was unthinkable," Reagan said. "What timing for the first lady of this country. Maybe the bump on the head was more serious than we thought," he said, referring to an injury Mrs. Reagan suffered in a recent fall.
"I think Nancy really needs to apologize to Colleen and her family for the disruption she caused," he said.
Reagan, who acknowledged that he and the first lady "don't get along that well," said he had refrained from going public with his feelings. He added, "The only person I know who is close to her is Dad."
Reagan also said he was considering writing a book about the whole affair. "I want to get it all down in writing and get it off my chest."
He said he was returning home to Los Angeles on Monday and was concerned about the fallout from Nancy Reagan's remarks. "She was calculating and did it on purpose. I've got a family and business to think about."
Reagan, who was adopted by the president and his first wife, Jane Wyman, said he first learned of Mrs. Reagan's comments on television.
"I think it's not an estrangement as much . . . as a jealousy Nancy might have towards me and my family, you know, being the son of another marriage," he said earlier at an impromptu news conference in Omaha.
"We have the only two grandchildren of the president. I have noticed since that time that Nancy has not been as warm toward us and it's not really anything bad, I think, as a mother . . . she would like to have her kids have the grandchildren of the president. I think there's a jealousy there."
The family feud erupted after Mrs. Reagan told a syndicated columnist that there is "an estrangement" with Michael Reagan. "We are sorry about it," Nancy Reagan said in the interview. "We hope that someday it will be solved."
Michael Reagan's remarks came as the rest of the Reagan family gathered at the president's ranch near Santa Barbara, Calif., for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner.
In explaining his absence from the Reagan ranch, Michael told reporters: "There's a good reason I wasn't at Thanksgiving dinner. I wasn't on the list."
In Santa Barbara, the Reagan family get-together included the president's brother, Neil, and his wife, Beth, and his other three children: Maureen and husband Dennis Revell, Patti and husband Paul Grilley, and Ron and wife Doria.