Gingrich says Obama administration 'amateurish' on Egypt
February 7th, 2011
08:08 PM ET
3 years ago

Gingrich says Obama administration 'amateurish' on Egypt

(CNN) – Former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich said he's "concerned" about the Obama administration's handling of the situation in Egypt and what he sees as a divide between the White House and diplomat Frank Wisner.

"I think the fact that they appointed a very able diplomat Frank Wisner and within two days were publicly contradicting him is you know so amateurish," Gingrich told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King. "I was with John Bolton (former ambassador to the United Nations) last night. He said it's inconceivable that they would be this clumsy and this out of sync. 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."


Wisner was sent to Egypt by the United States to negotiate directly with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on the transition, and on his return said Mubarak should remain in office, at least for now, in order to hand over authority in an orderly manner.

At the White House press briefing Monday, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said that Wisner does not speak for the administration.

"His views on who should or shouldn't be the head of Egypt don't represent the views of our administration," Gibbs said. "The views of our administration are that those are the decisions that will be made by the Egyptians."

But the envoy's remarks were not entirely out of line with those of other officials who have noted that there are "certain legitimate legislative hurdles" that must be overcome by Mubarak and could take some time to accomplish.

Gingrich also said he's worried that the United States might reach out to the Muslim Brotherhood, an opposition Islamist umbrella group in the country.

"I think this is absolute total misreading of history. The Muslim Brotherhood is a mortal enemy of our civilization, they say so openly," Gingrich said.

The Brotherhood, officially banned but still tolerated by the Egyptian government, is already in negotiations with other – but not all – opposition groups and Egypt's new vice president, Omar Suleiman. The Brotherhood was removed from the U.S. list of foreign terrorist organizations in the 1970s and, at least in Egypt, has renounced violence.

The likely 2012 presidential candidate reiterated his "end of February and to March" deadline to make a decision and turned the discussion to former President Ronald Reagan, whose centennial birthday celebration he attended Sunday.

"Reagan did what he believed in when he thought it was right," Gingrich said. "I frankly try to study Reagan and (Margaret) Thatcher and (Abraham) Lincoln because I think they were the great truth tellers of modern politics, sometimes when telling the truth people in the establishment go nuts because it's not the truth they want to hear."


Filed under: 2012 • Egypt • Newt Gingrich
soundoff (279 Responses)
  1. ?

    you gingrich are a complete moron! such bafoons you right wingers have to offer!

    February 8, 2011 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  2. JJ

    Newt, trust me when I tell you that the country does not give a flying intercourse what you and that idiot Bolton have to say about any of this. Shoo.

    February 8, 2011 12:18 am at 12:18 am |
  3. Don Gregory

    There is an America psyche awareness of the hawkish ilk of Newt and his buddy Bolton. These two don't deserve any controlling role in world politics now as the old cold war style of diplomacy they exemplify is out of touch with the real world. We're now in the 21st century – unfortunately Newt and Bolton are stuck in the '50's and 60's and still believe that "Mr Gorbachev, tear down that wall" was the most world-changing ring that bought down the Berlin Wall. Joshua, who fought the battle of Jericho perhaps had more to do with the walls coming down than that exclamation! ! !

    February 8, 2011 12:18 am at 12:18 am |
  4. GP

    And of course Gingrinch and Bolton are merely offering their unbiased, objective analysis. They certainly are not helping the matter.

    February 8, 2011 12:19 am at 12:19 am |
  5. duke

    Question?
    What policy making office is Newt elected to??
    Who cares what he says??
    Same goes for SS Palin!!
    Instead of ideas all we get bombarded with everyday is negative messages and no helpful,meaningful talk or ideas,its as if someone or some group want us divided and distracted for a selfish reason,
    Too bad the american people have become too lazy to even think for themselves,
    Hence this old outdated political hack,who gets his riches from keeping the people divided.

    February 8, 2011 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  6. Bertina

    I wish Gingrich would get his head out of his "you know what". He has selective memories of Reagan and seems to be wrong about the Muslim Brotherhood. I think Queen Noor knows more about the situation than he does. It's up to the Egyptian people to decide who they want as president. He is trying to convince people that he can be president. He's worse than Pawlenty. Baloney on both of them!!!

    February 8, 2011 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  7. Sylvia

    I noticed that the article was posted at 8PM ET, that is 5PM my time. It's been 4 hrs, 45 min's and no one has posted a comment. I take it as – When Gingrich speaks, CNN & especially fox listen but most of us don't care.

    February 8, 2011 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  8. David Wallace

    Reagan was a great truth teller? You mean like with Iran-Contra? I'm SO sick of Republican blowhards who just wait to see whatever Obama will say so that they can say the opposite. It's sickening and tiresome. And can you even IMAGINE how hysterical they would be if Democrats were having the audacity to question the President's policy during this "criticial moment?" What's worse is that CNN continues to pander to them and give credence to such amateurish, obvious blowhards. Report some REAL news, please!

    February 8, 2011 12:46 am at 12:46 am |
  9. David S

    So, true, Newt. I have so much more respect for an administration that has their foreign policy ducks in a row - like the CIA, the State Dept, the press, ol' Dick and W. did before their brilliant decision to invade Iraq. Definitely not amateurish there.

    February 8, 2011 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
  10. John

    Newt call labeling someone "amateurish..." now that's a hoot!!!

    February 8, 2011 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
  11. TinCanOnAString

    In other news, President Obama turned left upon exiting the Oval Office at the end of the day. The GOP released a statement that he should have turned right.

    February 8, 2011 12:49 am at 12:49 am |
  12. NoWar

    this guys would start a war if he is a president

    February 8, 2011 12:52 am at 12:52 am |
  13. Glenn from Cary

    Please go away, Newt. And this time, stay away.

    February 8, 2011 12:55 am at 12:55 am |
  14. Scottyg

    amateur or sell out

    February 8, 2011 12:55 am at 12:55 am |
  15. Bill from GA

    I've been told that an earlier comment I made regarding this post was derogatory and even insulting, so I hereby apologize to all pompous scumbags for implying any relation to Newt Gingrich. That was a low blow and I’m sure the pompous scumbags of the world don’t deserve such degradation.

    February 8, 2011 12:57 am at 12:57 am |
  16. p

    Gingrich is a clown, who's best shot at being inside the White House would be to take the tour.

    February 8, 2011 12:59 am at 12:59 am |
  17. anthony

    Heaven HELP us from the Gingrich's of the world...!!!!!

    February 8, 2011 01:01 am at 1:01 am |
  18. john in cal

    As Newt knows. We've as a nation /with our leaders at the helm have made so many bad decisions with and for other nations, that it is a pleasent change to see someone say that the people themselves should shape their own destiny and country WITHOUT the help of so called experts in this country. We can't even get it right here. So Newt-shut up and sit down, cus buddy boy–you ain't no expert.

    February 8, 2011 01:01 am at 1:01 am |
  19. Thrawn

    Not only is Gingrich is a consistent liar, he is also good at his game. Has Obama's position on Egypt been inconsistent? No. What goes into making the US look weak? Its weakest link, those who are undermining from within – not out of dissidence, but out of sheer politics. Who wants this idiot to be president? How about we ask Bill Clinton what he thinks of Newt's administrative abilities.

    February 8, 2011 01:05 am at 1:05 am |
  20. Peter s

    Newt! just go home!

    February 8, 2011 01:06 am at 1:06 am |
  21. Rick1

    Yet, another Republican traitor. His comments are so inanne and such a disservice to the Country. Gingrich who could never follow through on a commitment is simply laughable.

    February 8, 2011 01:08 am at 1:08 am |
  22. Dennis from Millbrae

    Oh, John Bolton is a real credible figure. He would have fit right in with the Third Reich. And Gingrich is a fine example for all Americans with his propensity for cheating on his wives, even while one is being treated for cancer. Gingrich, you have no moral standing to judge anyone. Gingrich/Palin in 2012 (oh, please) to ensure President Obama's well-deserved re-election.

    February 8, 2011 01:10 am at 1:10 am |
  23. suebon

    When people in Iran, a much more poor & suppressed people than those in Egypt, rose up, the Obama admin stayed out of it. They told us it wasn't good to meddle, let the people of the country figure it out. Now that the people of Egypt, where there's some tolerance of other religions & women aren't 4th class citizens, have rose up, the Obama admin quickly & forcefully has stated Mubarak must step down now. What's the difference? Both countries are run by dictators. As best I can tell, Iran is a more hard line Islamic regime, less tolerant of other religions & much more strict regarding minimizing women's rights. So can someone tell me why we should try to keep the current Iranian government intact yet insist on a swift disolution of the current Egyptian government?

    February 8, 2011 01:12 am at 1:12 am |
  24. Kara

    Typical. I'm sure he'd love the administration to throw their full weight behind a military despot who's slaughtering his own people. To people like Newt Gingrich, the only people who deserve democracy are those who vote the way he wants.
    And the establishment LOVED Reagan and Thatcher, what is he on about?
    I don't know why I'm bothering to write this anyway, CNN's probably going to censor it, as usual.

    February 8, 2011 01:12 am at 1:12 am |
  25. Daniel

    Gingrich quotes John Bolton! Neither of these guys is credible, especially Gingrich on foreign policy.

    February 8, 2011 01:14 am at 1:14 am |
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