Exchange With Reporters Following a Visit With the Phillip Butler Family in Maryland

May 3, 1982

Q. Mr. President, what did you tell the Butlers?

The President. I just told them what a great pleasure it was to be able to come in here and see them, visit with them.

I said I simply told them what a pleasure it was to come and be able to visit them here and how much I regretted any unpleasantness that they may have had, because there shouldn't be any place in our country for that sort of thing.

Q. Do you think anything can be done about such incidents?

The President. Well, I don't know.

Q. What made you want to come?

The President. I read about it in the paper this morning.

Q. You don't think it's characteristic then of 1982 America.

The President. No, it's just characteristic still of some people, and I think they're a minority. But when I use that term I mean a minority of that kind of person that seems to be filled with hatred and -- --

Q. Are the Butlers still going to leave this home and move to a new community?

The President. I didn't ask them what their plans were.

Q. Are you still going to move?

Mr. Butler. We don't know. It's something hard to say.

Q. Is there anything you think you can do about it, Mr. President?

The President. Well, I thought maybe we might just call attention to how reprehensible something of this kind is.

Q. Thank you.

Note: The exchange began at 5:12 p.m. outside the College Park, Md., home of Phillip and Barbara Butler as the President was leaving to return to the White House.

The May 3 edition of the Washington Post contained an article on the Butlers, who had had a cross burned on their front lawn 5 years earlier by a member of the Ku Klux Klan.