Fox contributor Newt Gingrich criticized presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s racist attacks on the federal district court judge presiding over two lawsuits against the now-defunct Trump University, calling them a “mistake.” Gingrich, reportedly a potential vice presidential running mate for Trump, has a history of bigoted statements, including claiming that President Obama engages in “Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior,” smearing Obama as “the food stamp president,” calling then-Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor “racist,” and saying bilingual education teaches “the language of living in a ghetto.”
Newt Gingrich Criticizes Trump’s Racial Attacks On Judge
Trump: “Mexican” Judge In Trump U. Case Is Being “Extremely Unfair” Because “We’re Building A Wall Between Here And Mexico.” For months, presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump has attacked Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who is presiding over two lawsuits claiming that the defunct real estate seminar business Trump University made false promises to its customers. Trump has repeatedly suggested that the Indiana-born Judge Curiel’s Mexican heritage makes it impossible for him to rule fairly because of Trump’s anti-immigrant policies. NBC’s Meet the Press compiled some of Trump’s attacks in a July 5 video montage:
DONALD TRUMP: I believe he happens to be Spanish, which is fine. He's Hispanic, which is fine.
TRUMP: I think he has been very, very unfair with us. I think the judge has been extremely unfair.
TRUMP: The judges in this court system, federal court, they ought to look into Judge Curiel, because what Judge Curiel is doing is a total disgrace.
TRUMP: He's a Mexican. We're building a wall between here and Mexico. [NBC, Meet the Press, 6/5/16]
Gingrich: Trump’s Attacks On Judge Curiel Are “Inexcusable.” Gingrich, a potential running mate for Trump, called Trump’s racist attacks on Curiel “inexcusable” and a “mistake” in an interview on Fox News Sunday. Gingrich added: “[T]his judge was born in Indiana. He is an American, period. When you come to America, you get to become an American.” From the June 5 edition of Fox Broadcasting Co.’s Fox News Sunday:
CHRIS WALLACE (HOST): Are you comfortable with a potential president attacking a federal judge for his heritage?
NEWT GINGRICH: No. This is one of the worst mistakes Trump has made, and I think it's inexcusable. He has every right to criticize a judge, and he has every right to say certain decisions aren't right. And his attorneys can file to move the venue from the judge. But, first of all, this judge was born in Indiana. He is an American, period. When you come to America, you get to become an American. And Trump, who has grandparents who came to the U.S., should understand this as much as anybody. Second, to characterize, you know -- if a liberal were to attack Justice Clarence Thomas on the grounds that he's black, we would all go crazy. Every conservative would say it was wrong and it was racism. And Trump has got to, I think, move to a new level. This is no longer the primaries. He's no longer an interesting contender. He is now the potential leader of the United States and he's got move his game up to the level of being a potential leader.
WALLACE: Do you consider what this, he did here, racism?
GINGRICH: I think that it was a mistake. I think that it -- I hope it was sloppiness. He says on other occasions that he has many Mexican friends, etc., but that's irrelevant. This judge is not Mexican. This judge is an American citizen and deserves to be treated -- now, that means he can attack him as a judge and say he is a liberal and he is against me and he’s doing things I don't agree with, and he has lawyers who are supposed to be doing that. If it's a good case they should file to change the venue. [Fox Broadcasting Co., Fox News Sunday, 6/5/16]
Gingrich Has His Own Long History Of Bigoted Remarks
Gingrich: Obama Is Engaged In “Kenyan, Anti-Colonial Behavior.” On September 12, 2010, Gingrich reportedly told the National Review that President Obama has pretended to be “normal,” but that Obama actually seems to be engaged in “Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior”:
Citing a recent Forbes article by Dinesh D'Souza, former House speaker Newt Gingrich tells National Review Online that President Obama may follow a “Kenyan, anti-colonial” worldview.
Gingrich says that D'Souza has made a “stunning insight” into Obama's behavior -- the “most profound insight I have read in the last six years about Barack Obama.”
“What if [Obama] is so outside our comprehension, that only if you understand Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior, can you begin to piece together [his actions]?” Gingrich asks. “That is the most accurate, predictive model for his behavior.”
“This is a person who is fundamentally out of touch with how the world works, who happened to have played a wonderful con, as a result of which he is now president,” Gingrich tells us.
“I think he worked very hard at being a person who is normal, reasonable, moderate, bipartisan, transparent, accommodating -- none of which was true,” Gingrich continues. “In the Alinksy tradition, he was being the person he needed to be in order to achieve the position he needed to achieve . . . He was authentically dishonest.” [Media Matters, 9/11/10]
Gingrich Called Supreme Court Nominee Sonia Sotomayor “Racist.” On May 27, 2009, ABC News' Jake Tapper and Huma Khan reported that Gingrich tweeted the following: “Imagine a judicial nominee said 'my experience as a white man makes me better than a Latina woman' new racism is no better than old racism” and “White man racist nominee would be forced to withdraw. Latina woman racist should also withdraw.” Gingrich later denied calling Sotomayor a racist, but stood by his assessment that her comments were. [Media Matters, 9/13/10]
Gingrich: Bilingual Education Teaches “The Language Of Living In A Ghetto.” Gingrich reportedly once described bilingual education as teaching “the language of living in a ghetto” and mocked requirements that ballots be printed in multiple languages. From an April 1, 2007, AP article:
“The government should quit mandating that various documents be printed in any one of 700 languages depending on who randomly shows up” to vote, Gingrich said. The former Georgia congressman, who is considering seeking the GOP presidential nomination in 2008, made the comments in a speech to the National Federation of Republican Women.
“The American people believe English should be the official language of the government. . . . We should replace bilingual education with immersion in English so people learn the common language of the country and they learn the language of prosperity, not the language of living in a ghetto,” Gingrich said, drawing cheers from the crowd of more than 100.
“Citizenship requires passing a test on American history in English. If that's true, then we do not have to create ballots in any language except English,” he said. [Associated Press, 4/1/07]
Gingrich: Obama “Engaged” In “Racist Dialogue To Try Frighten Latino Voters Away From The Republican Party.” In 2010, Gingrich accused the president of creating a “racist dialogue” during debates over the potential for racial profiling and discrimination created by Arizona Senate Bill 1070. The so-called “Papers Please” law made it a crime for immigrants to leave home without documents demonstrating proof of residency, and empowered law enforcement to stop any person to ascertain their immigration status. Gingrich claimed that President Obama was trying to “frighten Latino voters away from the Republican Party” with his criticism of the GOP-led legislation. From May 26, 2010, edition of Fox News’ On The Record with Greta Van Susteren:
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN (HOST): All right, let me go to immigration. Because yesterday, when the president met with Republican senators, he didn't tell them about the 1,200 troops, then left and then said, “OK, now you're going to get 1,200 troops.” Do you have any problem with the way that was done? I hate to harp on it, but it just seems so high school that he didn't tell them when he was there. Maybe there's an explanation.
NEWT GINGRICH: Look, the 1,200 troops are high school. The idea that we're faced with a crisis on the border, that the crisis involves hundreds of thousands of people coming across the border, and the president thinks the rest of us are dumb enough to be impressed by a public relations stunt. And that's what this is. This is a public relations stunt, and it's an insult to every American who's worried about immigration. And it's an insult to the people of New Mexico, Arizona, California, and Texas. This is not a serious response. And frankly, the country is going to get very tired of government by public relations.
VAN SUSTEREN: And what about in terms of politics? Is he trying to keep some group happy or not in this?
GINGRICH: Well, look. I assume that somewhere after he attacked Arizona; engaged in what I think was a racist dialogue to try to frighten Latinos away from the Republican Party; stood next to the president of Mexico and said, “Borders don't matter because we have strong bonds”; had the president of Mexico get a standing ovation from Democrats for attacking an American state, and has his own State Department apologize to the Chinese for the Arizona law. Somewhere in that process this pollster came in and said, “Maybe your position is a little bad on this issue.” And somebody on his staff said, “I've got a great idea. Let's send 1,200 troops to the border. That'll sound tough.” [Fox News,On The Record With Greta Van Susteren, 5/26/10]
Gingrich Compared Proposed Islamic Center Near Ground Zero To Putting A Nazi Sign “Next To The Holocaust Museum.” On the August 16, 2010, edition of Fox & Friends, Gingrich said, “Nazis don't have the right to put up a sign next to the Holocaust museum in Washington. We would never accept the Japanese putting up a site next to Pearl Harbor. There's no reason for us to accept a mosque next to the World Trade Center.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 8/16/10]
Gingrich: It's Time To “Actively Discriminate Based On Suspicious Terrorist Information.” In a December 30, 2009 op-ed for the right-wing magazine Human Events, Gingrich slammed the Obama administration for prioritizing “terrorists” over Americans, and called on the government to start using racial profiling:
Today, because our elites fear politically incorrect honesty, they believe that it is better to harass the innocent, delay the harmless, and risk the lives of every American than to do the obvious, the effective, and the necessary.
It's Time to Be Honest About What We Know
Protecting the Rights of Terrorists Has Been More Important than Protecting the Lives of Americans
In the Obama Administration, protecting the rights of terrorists has been more important than protecting the lives of Americans.
That must now change decisively.
It is time to know more about would-be terrorists, to profile for terrorists and to actively discriminate based on suspicious terrorist information. [Human Events, 12/30/09]
Gingrich Frequently Referred To President Obama As The “Food Stamp President.” During his 2012 presidential campaign, Gingrich explicitly tied a reliance on food stamps to the African-American community and frequently termed President Obama the “food stamp president.” From a January 2012 CBS News report:
Gingrich, during an appearance in Plymouth, New Hampshire, spoke about remarks he would theoretically make if invited to speak to the NAACP.
“I'm prepared, if the NAACP invites me, I'll go to their convention and talk about why the African American community should demand paychecks and not be satisfied with food stamps,” Gingrich said.
The former House speaker has made a habit of calling President Obama the “food stamp president” -- a nickname he used on Thursday as well -- and has often painted the contrast between himself and Mr. Obama as a choice between paychecks and food stamps.
“The fact is, if I become your nominee we will make the key test very simple: Food stamps versus paychecks,” Gingrich said. “Obama is the best food stamp president in American history. More people are on food stamps today because of Obama's policies than ever in history. I would like to be the best paycheck president in American history.” [CBS News, 1/6/12]
Gingrich: Poor Blacks Fail To Acquire Wealth Partly Because Of Their “Habits.” A June 16, 1995, Washington Post article reported that Gingrich, in a discussion with black journalists, stated that the failure of poor black people to acquire wealth was in part due to their “habits.” From the Post article:
He acknowledged that it was more “difficult to acquire wealth as a black in America,” but added that more than skin color is at play. “The truth is that preachers and lawyers have been more dominant in the black culture in the last 40 years than have business people,” said Gingrich. “The habits of the church and the habits of the lawsuit have been more powerful than the habits of acquisition and the habits of job creation.”
Asked what he would tell a black child who grew up with the notion of the United States as a colorblind nation, Gingrich said he'd respond: “We're not colorblind. I'd say it's a lie to walk into a school in America and say, 'This is a colorblind society.' And we shouldn't lie to children.”
Pressed on what he would tell children who wondered what their opportunities were, Gingrich said his answer would be: “If you're black you have to work harder, and if you're black and poor you have to work twice as hard.”
Gingrich, who has been intimately involved in District affairs, also was asked to respond to the suspicions of some residents that Republican interest in the city is part of a “conspiracy to boot out the black-run government” and “roust out” poor blacks.
“I understand the fear,” he said. “What I want to do is transform Anacostia so the people currently living there are able to participate in the transformation so that five or 10 years from now they have new habits. Let me be very clear about this: I'm prepared to say to the poor, 'You have to learn new habits. The habits of being poor don't work. So yes, you've got to change.'” [The Washington Post, 6/16/95]