As the president prepares to deliver a speech in Los Angeles on Saturday, his aides are looking for ways to make sure that it will not be used to attack or marginalize anyone.
The speech will be part of the president’s first trip to California since becoming president.
On Monday, he will host a campaign rally in Santa Monica.
In addition to being a political speech, it also serves as a personal and public endorsement of Reagan, his advisers said.
The remarks are expected to draw criticism from some on the left, including some Democrats, who say they are unfair to Reagan because he endorsed the Vietnam War and is generally opposed to gay rights.
But supporters on the right say the speech is important to remind Americans that he did support gay rights and was an opponent of the war.
“We should honor the president by not using his speech as a platform to attack and vilify gays, and he was the one who started this campaign to get gay people into the military,” said Matt Bennett, an adviser to conservative talk show host Hugh Hewitt.
“If he wants to be remembered as a guy who fought for gay rights, he should be honored as a Republican, and not a Democrat.”
“We can all agree that we should be fighting for our civil rights and freedoms and I think it is a good time to do so, but it is not a good way to honor the man that was a big supporter of the Vietnam war,” Bennett said.
Reagan’s aides have tried to make the speech a non-partisan matter, trying to avoid the pitfalls of an anti-war speech.
Instead, they have sought to position it as a rallying cry for the Republican base that is trying to retake control of the White House.
They have included speeches from former Presidents Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush.
In this case, the Reagan team said, they are going to use the speech as part of a broader strategy to help build the Republican Party in the years ahead.
“Reagan was the last president who took on the entire Democratic Party and built the Republican party from the bottom up, so we are going through a long period of rebuilding,” said Richard Burden, the vice president for political affairs for the Reagan campaign.
“I’m not a fan of the Democrats,” Burden added.
“But we know that we have a great chance of winning in 2016.”
Reagan also said during his speech that the nation is “in danger” because of a new threat that he believes is not new: “a threat from the left.”
“The Left is not afraid to say that America is in danger and that we need to get ready for the coming threat of radical Islamic terrorism,” Reagan said.
“The Left wants to impose its totalitarian, intolerant ideology in the heartland of America.
We must not allow them to.”
Follow AP Politics reporter Amy K. Phillips on Twitter: @amykphillips