Newt Gingrich’s comments following the shooting of Rep. Steve Scalise and others at a Republican baseball practice were so hideous that even the Fox News hosts suggested they were inappropriate. But Gingrich refused to show the common decency requested of him.
In case you missed it, Scalise (R-LA) is currently in critical condition and others were injured after a gunman opened fire during a practice session in advance of an annual baseball game that pits Congressional Democrats against Republicans. The gunman, who has been killed, had a long history of domestic violence. He was also a Bernie Sanders supporter.
That was all the uber-partisan Gingrich needed to start exploiting the tragedy to drum up more political hostility:
GINGRICH: It’s part of a pattern…You’ve had an increasing intensity of hostility on the left. Look, I talk to college students regularly who say to me if they openly are for Trump, they get threatened. I’ve had college students say they’re threatened with getting beaten up, some of them get death threats.
Oh, you mean like this Fox fan who was recently sent to jail after threatening numerous Fox News targets? This wannabe murderer offered money to other Fox News readers to kill various people scapegoated on Fox. Not only did Fox not report him to the authorities (but we did), Fox continued to let him post his murder-for-hire requests on FoxNews.com.
Here are a few samples of right-wing hostility Mr. Cheater Gingrich ignored:
Without challenge, Gingrich continued his hate mongering:
GINGRICH: The intensity on the left is very real. Whether it is somebody holding up, a so-called comedian holding up the president’s head in blood. Or it’s right here in New York City, a play that shows the president being assassinated.
Or how about presidential-candidate Donald Trump suggesting “Second Amendment people” act against Hillary Clinton were she to get elected? Oh, that’s right. It’s OK to use violent rhetoric if it’s a Republican. Just ask Ted Nugent.
And where was Gingrich when that same play he now abhors showed Obama being assassinated? I don’t remember hearing a complaint out of him, then.
Still, nobody at Fox challenged Gingrich.
GINGRICH: Or it’s Democratic-leaning politicians who are so angry, they have to use vulgarity because they can’t find any common language to talk. This intensity has been building, I think, since Election night.
Finally, cohost Melissa Francis spoke up. “With respect,” she said, “If everything you’re saying is true, to talk about it in those kind of terms of left and right, right now in the wake of it, does that make sense? Does it make it worse?”
Gingrich was not placated. “You want to know the truth?” he sniped.
“Well, but do you rise above it…” Francis began.
“No,” Gingrich snapped. “You’ve had a series of things which send signals that tell people that it’s OK to hate Trump. It’s OK to think of Trump in violent terms.”
Apparently, it didn’t count when Gingrich suggested Obama loved Muslims too much to protect Americans or when he accused Obama of “currying favor with the people trying to kill” Americans.
“It’s OK to consider assassinating Trump,” Gingrich continued, conveniently forgetting when Nugent talked about assassinating both Obama and Hillary Clinton. “And then suddenly we’re supposed to rise above it until the next time?”
Cohost Abby Huntsman also chided Gingrich, albeit gently.
HUNTSMAN: I think this is a moment, though, where you realize, at the end of the day that the climate has been so divisive, it has been so political and this is a time where you say these are all human beings, whether you’re Republican, whether you’re Democrat, we are all Americans, we’re all in this fight together.
But Gingrich refused to show any unity. “I don’t know in any time in recent history where you’ve had the kind of level of intensity that we see growing,” he whined. “Now maybe you’re right and maybe this is the moment everybody takes a step back but we have no evidence of that.”
Watch Gingrich exploit a tragedy to deliberately foster more division and hostility below, from the June 14, 2017 Outnumbered.
Although I belong to the anti-clerical camp, I have a lot of respect for Pope Francis because he really does walk the talk of Christianity (big “C”). Although the Pope seems to be moving towards a reversal of the Church’s stand on divorce (hence adultery), Ms Gingrich may get a cool reception because Francis is also on a roll against hypocrisy and dirty politics in general. The scuttlebutt over here (the Vatican leaks like a sieve) is that he was polite but firm as he tried to school" the POTUS. His message probably fell on deaf ears but he at least tried and I trust him to keep on trying.
I am enheartened by the fact that the Southern Baptist Conference has apparently ruled firmly against the alt-right movement. Good for them!
The Right Wing response to this event has been to try to duck the whole issue of gun control and respin the whole thing as something about the “deranged Left”. It’s both shameful and depressing at the same time.
It is nonsensical to think that the Public Theater’s production of Julius Caesar had anything to do with this event, particularly since that that play is actually a treatise against violence. Anyone who actually follows Shakespearean theater knows that JC is done multiple times every year around this country and it’s a regular thing for it to be staged in modern dress with a modern figurehead at the center. Ellen correctly notes it was done at the Guthrie in 2012 with an Obama figure at the center, in a production that Delta had no problems sponsoring. I note that Oskar Eustis (the director of this new show with a Trump figurehead) also did a Julius Caesar that I saw at Berkeley Shakespeare Festival in 1988, which was set in the early 1960s with a JFK figure at the center and one line of iambic replaced with “the best and the brightest” as the conspirators go off to kill Caesar. It is interesting that someone like Gingrich, who purports to be a scholar, simply doesn’t understand the play or its history.
If there is a connection to be made in today’s events, it would be to the many, many public shootings we are continuing to endure. Nearly all of them involve a white male who has isolated himself from society and armed himself with military-grade weapons and ammunition. A friend of mine wrote an analysis of this today, noting that we’re seeing a series of horrifying moments where the angry white man who feels disempowered will act out in a violent and murderous fashion. She sees it as a response to the fact that white men don’t have all the privilege in society of late, and their frustration is manifesting in multiple outlets, usually including violence. The various shooters and murderers we have seen are all angry, sociopathic people, who’ve usually had their paranoias reinforced by one area of the media or another. These days, it seems to come from social media and various internet memes. It’s why someone like Alex Jones is popular among a lot of gullible people – he provides an easy narrative to why their lives aren’t what they hoped, and he provides easy scapegoats. The shooter in this case appears to have glommed on to one part of the Sanders message (the system is corrupt) but not have listened to anything else Sanders was trying to say.
The situation we have seen today is truly a sad one – reflecting this country’s inability to deal the mentally ill or to get any kind of handle on how a disturbed person can get his hands on automatic weapons and ammo. That’s the real discussion that needs to happen – not some cheap shots from Right Wingers trying to score points from the misery of others.