Gingrich says Obama administration 'amateurish' on Egypt
February 7th, 2011
08:08 PM ET
11 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. Stooge Gingrich (R)

    What would a republican president do: Invade the country, allow it to be looted and leave with both our country and Egypt broken. It's the republican "contract to destroy the world."

    February 7, 2011 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  2. Phred

    Newt, no one gives a rat's patootey what you or that failed diplofloormat Bolton thinks. You both are irrelevant. That's all.

    February 7, 2011 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  3. Bob(Illinois)

    I don't give a rats behind WHAT Newt Gingrich has to say!

    February 7, 2011 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  4. True American

    riiiiiiight...and look at the fine professional job you did handling the middle east gingrich. SIT DOWN!

    February 7, 2011 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |

    Newt is spot on. Look back over the past four weeks, beginning with Tunisia, and you see a US administration and president paralyzed with fear and uncertainty. Obama was seen as he usually is without his teleprompter: dithering, waffling, contradicting himself, prevaricating and looking out for the interests of loony global liberals and not Americans.

    February 7, 2011 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  6. Shellz in Utah

    Would these republican's that are trying to be relevant just shut up? Good lord, him and Palin just make me ill acting as if they know the best way to handle something. Stop trying to get your name in the public eye - and perhaps consider something productive for society....your mouth's aren't bringing value.

    February 7, 2011 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  7. valwayne

    Its hard to dispute the fact that having different parts of the administration contradicting each other is inept! On something this important Obama really should get his act together!

    February 7, 2011 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  8. Dave in Seattle

    Citing The height of non-diplomacy in the former-diplomatic ranks. There are few former diplomats who's opinion I would respect less.

    February 7, 2011 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  9. AC

    What is really amateurish is your opinion. Bolton was and still is a pyscho and you do not know what's the administration is dealing with. You and Plain should run on the same ticket, you both speak out of your other EXIT!

    February 7, 2011 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  10. CAW in MD

    Isn't it interesting that the only people who are talking about the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt is the Republicans? Nobody in the administration is saying they are approaching this group, but Republicans are all over the airwaves with how they are "worried" that Obama is going to do that.

    Just another example, if one was needed, about how Republicans make things up when it suits them.

    February 7, 2011 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  11. mark

    yeah, i agree with gringrich here. obama is not on the right side here. by taking sides in another country, you immediately gain resistance. this is the type of decision that is made before going to war. not when you are trying to promote peace.

    February 7, 2011 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  12. Peter s

    Mr. Newt!! Sir, I'm not good in history as you are but the last time I checked on the world map, Egypt was not a part of Georgia's sixth congressional district. Please concentrate with the American politics!! the Pharaos have a greater History than you think.

    February 7, 2011 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  13. Kenneth the VI of Minneapolis

    And, Newt wants to be President.

    February 7, 2011 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  14. kyle

    Newt is an idiot, and anyone who listenst o him is an idiot too.

    February 7, 2011 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  15. Eddie Dex

    It sure is easy for people to call someone amaturish when they aren't sitting in the big chair. Please.

    February 7, 2011 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  16. ehwilson429

    well it's true. Obama has nothing in his background that would show any foreign police experience.
    so he should resign.

    But Gingrich is a draft dodger and a lobbyist for the ethanol industry and that makes him unqualified to run for prezzie.

    February 7, 2011 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  17. Oldie in TampaBay

    Just one more that loves to hear himself talk! Blah blah blah. Get a life Gingrich!

    February 7, 2011 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  18. dale

    and the Bush admin was not "clumsy and out of sync" with the wmd"s in Iraq?

    February 7, 2011 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  19. Tam

    Amateurish? Who is this coming from? A pinnacle of decency and morality... yeah, right.

    February 7, 2011 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  20. once upon a horse

    if you consider the source of this then I'm sure you'll be shaking your head laughing like I'm doing now.

    February 7, 2011 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  21. guy from NM

    Looks very presidential in that picture, but still the empty babble. Reagan??? What the hell can he learn from president "I do not recall"? Nicaragua, Iran Contra, not what I would call mastery of foreign politic. US should stay out of the way and shut up.

    February 7, 2011 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  22. A concerned observer

    Egypt is not a huge deal when it comes to relations in the middle east. It's one country out of many. Also, Abraham Lincoln wasn't the saint Gingrich makes him out to be.

    February 7, 2011 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  23. Ed

    Wasn't this clown run out his own job and after cheating on two wives? And he's relevant because.....?

    February 7, 2011 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  24. Independent1

    Yes, really, we can count on Johnny Bolton and Newt Gingrich to tell us how we should respond to what's going on in Egypt. How about we stay out of their business and fix some of the problems here at home, boys? Hey, Newt, where's all your big ideas for creating jobs?

    February 7, 2011 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  25. shs

    Ha-ha, Newt called someone else "amateurish."

    February 7, 2011 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
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