Former Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA), a potential presidential candidate, is joining the list of Republicans who are blasting the Obama administration’s handling of the situation in Egypt.
CNN’s John King caught up with Gingrich at the Reagan Centennial in Simi Valley, California — as King noted, he can’t really get a regular sit-down interview, because Gingrich and other possible candidates are Fox News contributors.
“Look, I think the fact that they appointed a very able diplomat, Frank Wisner, and within two days, were publicly contradicting him, is, you know, it’s so amateurish,” said Gingrich, referring to the administration having backed away from its envoy saying that Mubarak should stay in power while political reforms are carried out.
“I was with John Bolton last night, he said it’s inconceivable that they would be this clumsy and this out of sync with — I mean, just with themselves, forget the Arab world. They can’t even get the White House and their special envoy to be on the same page.”
Gingrich also strongly opposed the administration’s efforts to reach out to Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, as part of a transition to democracy. “I think this is absolute, total misreading of history. The Muslim Brotherhood is a mortal enemy of our civilization,” said Gingrich. “They say so openly. Their slogan says so openly. Their way is jihad, their method is death. For us to encourage in any way the inclusion of the Muslim Brotherhood is fundamentally wrong.
“And I think that what we want to do is walk a narrow line between — we don’t want to betray somebody who’s been with us for 30 years as an ally. We do recognize his time may well have gone. We want to treat him with dignity, because he stood by us in very tough times. We want to help the Egyptian people achieve self-government, but we want to isolate and minimize the risk of the Muslim Brotherhood.
“This administration, I think, does not have a clue about those realities.”