Letter Accepting the Resignation of Edward J. Rollins, Jr., as Assistant to the President for Political and Governmental Affairs
It is with deep regret that I accept your resignation as Assistant to the President for Political and Governmental Affairs, effective October 1, 1985.
The poet who wrote that "parting is such sweet sorrow" never said whether leave-takings get any easier when they're done twice. The first time I accepted your resignation, in October 1983, it was with considerable regret, but at least I had the consolation of knowing that you would be near at hand at the Reagan-Bush '84 Committee if I ultimately decided to seek reelection to a second term. Having counted on your professional experience and wise counsel throughout my first years in office, I was reassured to know that our effort to get out a message of hope and opportunity to the American people would be under such capable direction.
As the adage goes, the rest is history. But I think our success, which in so many ways is your success, flowed from a quality that you have exemplified at every stage of your career. And that is a recognition that neither effective government nor successful campaigns really depend on the delivery of messages to the people. Rather they depend on their willingness to hear the message of the people, and to give voice to their deepest aspirations of freedom, dignity, and self-government. In those long hours of travel and strategy meetings, from great cities to the smallest plots of this good American earth, you helped us all keep in mind the fundamental principles that brought our team to office in 1981.
I'm not surprised, then, that a time should come when you would move on to the private sector where those principles can be practiced to the fullest. I know that your consummate skill and professionalism will serve you well in all your endeavors. But please don't expect that those endeavors will forever be to the exclusion of public life: I intend to call on you frequently in the months ahead for the advice, wisdom, wit and, most of all, friendship you've provided over the last five years.
From the bottom of my heart, Ed, thank you for all you have done for me and for our beloved America. Nancy joins me in sending you our warmest wishes for every future success and happiness.
September 18, 1985
Dear Mr. President:
This letter is probably one of the most difficult I will ever write because the decision it represents is the most difficult I've ever made.
Effective October 1, 1985, I am resigning my position as your Assistant for Political and Governmental Affairs.
After nearly five years in the White House and the campaign and 16 years of service at the local, state and federal levels of government, I've decided it's time to move on to the private sector and give Reaganomics a chance to work for me. As you have often said, if we start referring to the government as we, instead of them, then we've been here too long. I'm starting to think like "them" and obviously I've been here too long.
However, it is with a mixture of nostalgia, pride and regret that I will be leaving.
Nostalgia, because in looking back over the past five years, I can say without hesitation that they have been the most exciting, rewarding and inspirational of my career.
Pride, because I have had the privilege of serving a man who has been touched by destiny and whom destiny will not let go.
Regret, because it isn't over until it's over, and I firmly believe during the next three years you will continue to earn a place in history as one of this nation's greatest Presidents.
When the history books are written on you, Mr. President, your Presidency will be seen as a time of turning.
A time when America turned from excessive government and renewed the strength of its economy and the vigor of its people.
A time when we as a country moved off the defensive in the world and began to promote the ideals of liberty, peace, trade and democracy that nurtured our forefathers before us.
A time when the life of ordinary Americans improved, a time when they dared to dream again.
But most of all, Mr. President, your time in office will be viewed as a period when the Presidency worked. A period in which leadership and courage prevailed. Mr. President, you might not realize it but a whole generation of young Americans grew up in the last 20 years who never knew a successful Presidency. Now they know a successful two-term Presidency. That alone will help re-write history.
When Americans look back on these years, our gratitude for you will be even more profound than it already is.
Mr. President, I can never thank you enough for the privilege of serving you over the last five years. I am honored that I was able to be a small part of your team during this time of choosing and this time of changing. I will always take pride in having been a member of your staff during this critical period when you made America-Prouder, Stronger and Better—for ourselves, our families and the future.
Thank you, Mr. President and my prayers and best wishes for your success.
P.S. I'm still sorry about not winning Minnesota-if you had a decent campaign manager, you would have won all 50 states.
Note: The originals were not available for verification of the content of these letters.
Ronald Reagan, Letter Accepting the Resignation of Edward J. Rollins, Jr., as Assistant to the President for Political and Governmental Affairs Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/258562