Just weeks after his return to the network as a political contributor, Fox News figures are promoting the idea of Newt Gingrich becoming a 'caretaker' Speaker of the House now that Rep. Kevin McCarthy has dropped out of the leadership race. Fox hosts have been talking up Gingrich's political record in Congress and proclaiming confidence in his ability to unify the Republican party, completely whitewashing his well-known history of bigoted statements, including about President Obama.
Heavily-Favored McCarthy Drops Out Of Speaker Race, Sending GOP Into Turmoil
Kevin McCarthy Withdrew His Name, Said GOP Needs "A Fresh Face." In a political bombshell, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) announced October 8 that he would no longer be a candidate to replace outgoing Speaker John Boehner (R-OH). As the Washington Post reported, McCarthy damaged his election chances after talking candidly to Fox News about how the Select Committee on Benghazi's has damaged Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's popularity:
McCarthy's candidacy to succeed the retiring Boehner (R-Ohio) was damaged in recent days by a public gaffe -- a television interview in which he seemed to suggest that the Select Committee on Benghazi, the panel assembled by Republicans to investigate the 2012 attacks on U.S. facilities in Libya, was intended to damage Hillary Rodham Clinton's presidential poll numbers.
“Well, that wasn't helpful. I could have said it much better,” McCarthy acknowledged after dropping out of the race. “That's part of the decision as well.” McCarthy said he will remain in his post as majority leader and seek reelection in 2016. [The Washington Post, 10/8/15]
U.S. Constitution Does Not Require Speaker To Be Member Of Congress. Common House practice is to elect a current member as speaker, but it is not required by the Constitution and non-House members have received votesbefore:
Although the Constitution does not require the Speaker to be a Member of the House, all Speakers have been Members.
When a Congress convenes for the first time, each major party conference or caucus nominates a candidate for Speaker. Members customarily elect the Speaker by roll call vote. A Member usually votes for the candidate from his or her own party conference or caucus but can vote for anyone, whether that person has been nominated or not.
To be elected, a candidate must receive an absolute majority of the votes cast--which may be less than a majority of the full House because of vacancies, absentee Members, or Members who vote “present.” If no candidate receives the majority of votes, the roll call is repeated until a majority is reached and the Speaker is elected. [U.S. Constitution, Article I, Section II; CS Monitor, 9/25/15]
Fox News Figures Hype Fox Contributor Gingrich To Be Speaker
Fox & Friends' Steve Doocy Claimed Newt Gingrich “Would Be Great.” On the October 9 edition of Fox & Friends, host Steve Doocy praised Gingrich's political record andsuggested the House would be more productive under his leadership:
BRIAN KILMEADE: You won't get anything done. Does anyone want to have a caretaker for 16 more months, get nothing done?
STEVE DOOCY: Well, maybe they could actually get a lot -- if it were somebody like Newt Gingrich, I mean, he would be great - a great counterbalance to the Iran deal, he knows all about the debt limit, closed down the government once upon a time. So there are a lot of people are thinking, maybe that makes sense. [Fox News,Fox & Friends, 10/9/15]
Sean Hannity: “The Most Success That Republicans Had ... Was Under Newt Gingrich.” On The October 8 edition of Fox News' Hannity, Sean Hannity praised Gingrich's as the Speaker who presided over the most successful House Republican caucus ever:
SEAN HANNITY: I think the most success that Republicans had in the House was under Newt Gingrich. Bring him back.
CHARLES HURT: Well, you know, that idea has been floated already today, I saw somebody talking about that possibility. But I agree with you, Sean. I think that this right now is a tremendous opportunity for Republicans to do something, to do something transformational, to pick somebody way out of the sort of the expected realm of candidates, and pick somebody who is not only a visionary, but also understands how the system works and can move the process along so that Republicans can starting having real accomplishments. [Fox News, Hannity, 10/8/15]
Fox's Sean Hannity Endorses Gingrich On Twitter. When asked by one of his followers on Twitter whom he would support for Speaker now that McCarthy has withdrawn, Hannity praised Gingrich's record and tweeted back, “Newt. By Far.”
Newt. By far. He balanced the budget, was not afraid to shut down the govt, welfare reform AND HE KEPT HIS PROMISES https://t.co/hGyLGVlYvJ
-- Sean Hannity (@seanhannity) October 9, 2015
Newt Gingrich Is A Long-Time Political Contributor For Fox News
Gingrich Just Returned To Fox After Four-Year Hiatus. After Gingrich resigned from Congress as Speaker of the House in 1999, he joined Fox News as a contributor. In 2011, his contract was suspended when he launched his ultimately unsuccessful presidential campaign. Now he has rejoined Fox News as a contributor, after two years at CNN:
Newt Gingrich, a former Speaker of the House and 2012 presidential candidate, has rejoined Fox News as a political analyst. Gingrich had been a contributor for CNN, and was one of the four hosts of the re-imagined though short-lived Crossfire which was canceled one year ago this month.
Gingrich had been a Fox News contributor prior to his 2012 run for the White House, but was suspended in 2011 when he announced his candidacy. [TV Newser, 10/2/15]
Gingrich Also Has A History Of Making Bigoted Remarks Aimed At Sotomayor And Obama, Among Others
Gingrich Once Said President Obama Engaged In “Anti-Colonial Behavior.” On September 11, 2010, Gingrich told the National Review Online that you can only understand Obama's actions if you “understand 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.” [National Review Online, 9/11/10]
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 Human Events, Gingrich slammed the Obamaadministration 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 Called Supreme Court Nominee Sonia Sotomayor “Racist.” On May 27, 2009, ABCNews.com's 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]