Reactions have been pretty consistent in the brief amount of time since it was announced Wednesday morning that John Hinckley, Jr. was scheduled to be released next month from the mental institution he has called home since attempting to assassinate President Ronald Reagan in 1981.
Many people took to social media to express their opinions surrounding the impending release, and most of the responses were not in favor of allowing a would-be assassin of a sitting U.S. president to go free under any circumstances. But one "forgiving" voice emerged Wednesday from an unlikely source: Michael Reagan, the adopted son of the former president and former first lady Nancy Reagan.
Citing the Lord's Prayer, Michael Reagan suggested via Twitter that Hinckley be forgiven because that's what his father would have done.
A handful of people replied favorably to the above tweet, but most cited the fact that Hinckley did in fact fire a fatal bullet that fateful day of March 30, 1981. While Hinckley's shot at Reagan ended up piercing one of the president's lungs, another bullet struck then-White House Press Secretary James Brady. That shot left Brady paralyzed and despite that condition contributing to his eventual death in 2014, federal prosecutors decided against charging Hinckley with his murder.
Those sentiments were shared by Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, who told reporters as much Wednesday during a press conference in Doral, Florida. "I think John Hinckley should not have been freed," Trump said matter of factly when asked about it.
Michael Reagan identifies himself as the president of The Reagan Legacy Foundation, an author, a motivational speaker and a media contributor. He has been very vocal during this election cycle, often offering commentary against Hillary Clinton's candidacy, complete with a formal Trump endorsement last week.
The two Republicans clearly differ on the topic of Hinckley's freedom and it's unclear if that would affect Michael Reagan's support for the New York billionaire. Earlier during the primary season, Michael Reagan staked out a position against Trump when it came to immigration and refused to support real estate mogul, Politico reported.
"Ronald Reagan would never take 11 million people or three million people or a million people and throw them out of the United States of America," he told Politico last month.