Ex-Reagan appointees unite. Former officials plan to back Reagan agenda
The head of a new organization of President Reagan's former political appointees, charging that critics of the Iran arms deal are ``selling the President short,'' said this week that the group is providing private support for Mr. Reagan's goals. ``There is no group that is more supportive of the President,'' said Gilbert A. Robinson, formerly deputy director of the United States Information Agency and special adviser to Secretary of State George P. Shultz.
``We want to be as helpful and useful to the President as we can,'' he added.
Asked about Reagan's problems in dealing with the controversy over US arms sales to Iran and the funneling of profits to antigovernment Nicaraguan rebels, Mr. Robinson said:
``I'm totally supportive of the President and I believe the President totally. And I believe that he will see, to the best of his ability, that all of this information will be coming out.''
Robinson said the group, Reagan Appointees Alumni, was incorporated as a foundation during the summer and held an organizational meeting last week.
The group's directors include former United Nations ambassador Jeane J. Kirkpatrick; Helene von Damm-Guertler, former ambassador to Austria; Gerald P. Carmen, former chief of the General Services Administration; Peter H. Dailey, former ambassador to Ireland; and Donald J. Devine, former director of the Office of Personnel Management.
Robinson, who heads an international public relations firm, said the alumni group intends to publish a ``definitive directory'' of Reagan administration alumni who served in senior policymaking positions, and plans an annual reunion dinner.
He said the organization is in its ``early organizational stages'' but eventually will include 700 to 1,000 members.
Robinson said its main purposes are ``to keep the network of Reagan appointees alive and together on the outside,'' to provide private support for ``the Reagan agenda,'' and ``to provide a platform at any time for the President'' once he leaves office.
Robinson said the group's aims were enthusiastically supported by Robert H. Tuttle, White House personnel director, and Peter J. Wallison, counsel to the President.
``I think that people are selling the President short right now,'' Robinson said of the Iran-contra controversy.
``I also think that people are not realizing that much of the activity in the press has been stirred up by an accident of timing -- the fact that these revelations came just as the Congress went Democratic,'' he said. ``And the Democrats are trying to make it difficult for a Republican President.''
Asked whether he believes Reagan will weather the storm, he replied, ``Absolutely.''
``Those of us who served closely with the President know of his absolute integrity and honesty,'' Robinson said.