Gingrich says Obama administration 'amateurish' on Egypt
February 7th, 2011
08:08 PM ET
12 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. David H

    Oh Please. Does anyone care what this buffoon has to say?

    February 7, 2011 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  2. Margie

    Oh my goodness who thinks up these idiot sayings for this guy. Maybe he goes home at night and remembers all the crap he has done and then pops out the next day and blames Obama. I really truly believe he ought to keep his mouth shut. Some day some one is gonna pin him down and recite all the crap he has done and just what he should be serving for it.

    February 7, 2011 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  3. The Veteran

    You call it amateurish, and I call it smart. And he's smart enough not let you bait him into something foolish. Egypt can decide what's best for Egypt, without our help. They are not Anti-American, but they could be, if we listened to you, and folks of your ilk. Egyptians are Egyptians first. I'll bet Newt has never even been in the country, and is just talking out of the side of his neck. I've been there.

    February 7, 2011 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  4. PAUL W.

    Is that really all you have Newt, the same old name calling nonsense you've been using for 20 years? Why don't you spend some time actually learning the facts on the ground before you open that giant pie-hole of yours!

    February 7, 2011 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  5. Consider This

    Newt's and Bolton's opinion means soooooooooooooooooooo much! LOL!

    February 7, 2011 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  6. Jim

    Newt hasn't a clue as usual. Like the Wicked Witch of Alaska, he's terminally bashing the Obama administration without offering any facts or any alternative solutions. One thing Newt is obviously a real pro at is stuffing his fat face. Mr. Family Values has more chins than he's had wives.

    February 7, 2011 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  7. gino

    Go back and tell your wife that she is unworthy to be your spouse when you are president. And tell her that when she is in the hospital with cancer. The divorce her. Gingrich is a selfish pig and he has no standing whatever to comment on the actions of this President.

    February 7, 2011 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  8. Rob Johnson

    Gingrich thinks Obama is amateurish, but he goes to John Bolton for advice?

    If Gingrich and Bolton approved of Obama's foreign policy, I would be terrified for the future of the world.

    Even if the Muslim Brotherhood aren't necessarily on our side, I'm appalled at how many conservatives seem to think the USA should have veto power over who is in charge of Egypt. That is the kind of thinking that fuels hatred for America.

    February 7, 2011 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  9. Mark E

    The gnute is full of himself and nothing but hot air. no one listens to an avowed liar anyway.

    February 7, 2011 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  10. lynn

    Typical GOP, meddling in other ciountries business. That's what got us in Iraq, but the GOP likes distractions to cover up their inept handling of the economy.

    February 7, 2011 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  11. stat411

    Amaturerish not! This is just jubbering jibberish from Newnt Gingrich...self promoting article thats aimed at taking a jab at Obama. Lets imagine for instance that democracy takes over in Egypt and the Egyptians chose the brotherhood to replace Mubarak. The last thing that the US wants is to be seen as going against the voice of the people. That's why, any thinking person could easily tell you that, even though for America, Mubarak might be a better choice than the brotherhood, now would not be the time to go against the voice of the people and state that he should stay in power a little longer. I think either way you look at it, its been a delicate situation, but so far I think Obama has played this well. He's leaned on the side of democracy yet at the same time, not outrightly pushing for Mubaraks outsing, which might be a very dangerous thing for US and Israel if not done carefully.

    February 7, 2011 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  12. Rick

    Pot says, "Kettle black."

    February 7, 2011 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  13. Sir Craig

    Gingrich calls Obama "amateurish"? This from a guy who pouted so much during the Clinton years he actually forced a government shutdown just to show he could? I wouldn't take anything Gingrich had to say seriously, if for no other reason everything he has ever done points to a personality devoid of rational thought and prone to petty childishness.

    February 7, 2011 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  14. McCy

    You know what else is amateurish? Being the first Speaker of the House in history to be disciplined for an ethics violation. Or telling your first wife you are leaving her for another women while she's in the hospital recovering from cancer. Or cheating on your second wife while simultaneously attempting to impeach the President for having an extramarital affair. It's a wonder news organizations even bother to publish anything that comes out of this man's mouth anymore.

    February 7, 2011 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  15. CaliforniaBC

    What kind of, if any, deplomacy experience does Gingrich have? About as much as Palin?

    February 7, 2011 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    They can't even get the White House and their special envoy to be on the same page." , When has the WH been on the same page with anyone with Obama in Ofice ?

    February 7, 2011 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  17. Reggie from LA

    Perhaps you should have followed the lead of the "great ones" you mentioned while you were in office...or maybe even at your house. So we own Egypt too do we now? We have much say-so now (again)? I think the President is doing the best he can to let that country manage how it will deal with its politics and encouraging peace. They are not wards of the U.S. This is just another situation where you and other vote baiters are doing the best you can to discredit the White House. Just can't stand it can ya? WE ARE NOT EGYPTIANS. This is not Obama's fight or yours Mr Gingrich. Do all of us and Egypt a favor and relegate yourself to silence.

    February 7, 2011 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  18. sosupernova

    Gingrich has his nerve. All he is doing is grandstanding and trying to get his mug out there because he wants to run for president. He has the audacity to quote John Bolton, the diplomat who offended so many other countries that America was hated by former friends . How ludicrous!!!

    February 7, 2011 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  19. OnlyHandofdoom

    They can't even get the White House and their special envoy to be on the same page." When has the WH been on the same page with Obama in Office ?

    February 7, 2011 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  20. Pretzel Logic

    Gingrich is TweedleDee to Karl Rove's TweedleDum. Why on earth would anyone believe a word he says?

    February 7, 2011 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  21. The Other Dale

    It's pretty clear from everything being done by the President that Gringrich doesn't know what he's talking about. But that's never stopped him before. Gringrich is clearly out of his element and has been away from politics and world events too long to deal with reality, it appears. Maybe he can find a nice log-cabin to share with Little Orphan Palin.

    February 7, 2011 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  22. mlc in CA

    Hey, pudgy guy, it's Egypt's call, not ours. Egypt is their own country, pudgy guy, and we can advise them, but we can't tell them how to run their own show. Who died and elected you pope of the world, pudgy guy?

    February 7, 2011 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  23. Nick

    Newt is old news and this is sour grapes.

    February 7, 2011 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  24. trashcup

    Dreamteam – Gingrich & Bolton. What a mess. They both could lie to each other and believe it's the truth. Gingrich, Palin, Bolton, Limbaugh, all have no business commenting on the foreign affairs of the USA – they have no knowledge of the intimate conversations and negotiations that are currently going on with Egypt and therefore should keep their comments to themselves. I've always understood that USA Ambassadors to various foreign entities are supposed to be representatives of not only the USA but also are supposed to put forth the policies that the President decides will be the policies. THey don't report to Congrees, they report to the president! Therefore, if the Egyptian ambassador is saying something that the president doesn't like, he should recuse himself and leave and make NO comments.

    February 7, 2011 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  25. Shannon

    Gingrich, Palin, Beck, Limbaugh, and people like them offer no solutions, no ideas, just critisism & hate. They are part of the problem, I can't believe anyone actually takes these people seriously. They can't even handle their own personal lives, and they are trashing the President for how he leads our country. Unbelievable!

    February 7, 2011 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
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