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. thomas

    Amateurish ? Have you seen Newt's new movie Rediscovering God in America , if you have then you know what amateurish garbage is ! As for Newt's running mate and co-dependent obstructionist John Bolton (former ambassador to the UN. I'm sure they can rewrite history to support both of there inflated egos !

    February 7, 2011 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  2. Old Soldier

    Newt, Newt, Newt! Tsk, Tsk. Why should anyone listen to a professional liar and crook like you? Amateurish? The worst amateur splashed across the news is a fellow who left the halls of Congress in disgrace for breaking multiple US laws. You. You were an obvious thief and fool. You fit well with some other disgraced folks in the GOP: Ollie North (court martialed and retired in disgrace for multiple charges including fraud and stealing/misusing classified information); Congressman Allen West (court martialed and retired in disgrace for conduct unbecoming an officer and leader....not following the old "5 Ses" [Secure, Search, Safeguard, Segregate, Speed to the rear] real soldiers follow when holding captured enemies). I'm not overly happy with the current administration, either. But the leadership we citizen voters put into office do more than snipe at better people; biting at their heels like a lapdog. I know there's no law against a felon and cur dog running for President, but give it a break. Only folks with short memories or no concept of honor will vote for you. Mr. Reagan restored respect for the Presidency despite being asleep for most of his second term and having little connection with reality. But at least he didn't leave any office in disgrace and spend time/money fighting charges. Go home. Contemplate your navel. Swap stories with Ollie, Allen, Sarah, Bill, Hannity, and the others of your ilk. Leave my longterm political party alone! Republican, not Democrat. Fade away, Newt: you ain't-a gonna lead this here country. Tchuss!

    February 7, 2011 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  3. Dan

    Isn't this the same gasbag who screamed to every news outlet that would listen that it was TREASON to insult and belittle a sitting President in time of war? Isn't this the same man who said liberals were endangering American troups by daring to question the foreign policies of the Commander in Chief?

    Conservatives: Putting the Con in Con Men since McCarthy.

    February 7, 2011 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  4. chuckly

    This coming from someone who through a temper tantrum cause he wasn't allowed to sit in the front of the plane with the Presidents!!!!!

    Go home newt, no one cares!!

    February 7, 2011 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  5. Tim

    pompus, self-serving windbag

    February 7, 2011 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  6. TWM

    What a Putz!
    Maybe when you're president – you can use your broad and deep knowledge to help us
    And maybe donkeys will fly!

    February 7, 2011 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  7. Steve, New York City

    Wow – amazing. This whole Egypt fiasco is an opportunity for the clueless elements on the right, to make any stupid comment that they want. Palin, Gingrich seem to be "taking up the slack" for those imbeciles that would otherwise have no voice.
    And what should we support? Should we practice what we preach and let Egypt have "free" elections?
    The US, the EU, Israel and others only support free elections in Islamic countries if the outcome is sure to be pro-Western (for we all remember what happened in Algeria) – and by that "we," I'm excluding anyone who supports Palin, as those folks appear to be heartbreakingly slow, when it comes to having any knowledge of world history.

    February 7, 2011 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  8. Alex agu

    What would you recommend the US do about Egypt Mr. Newt Gingrich?

    February 7, 2011 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  9. John

    Gingrich is too certain that he is watching the Iranian revolution all over again. His remarks sound like opportunism to me.

    February 7, 2011 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  10. monolith092068

    Funny how everybody taking pot-shots at Obama right now are considering a run for the Office in 2012...... Gingrich is an idiot – alone with that person that can see Russia.

    February 7, 2011 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  11. T Mo

    And Newt and the "boys" handled the Iraq fiasco so well........

    February 7, 2011 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  12. CTSadler

    That's right. Obama should wait until Egypt is on it's death-bed and then divorce her. That's what a pro would do.

    February 7, 2011 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  13. Root and stem

    At heart Obama is an Islamist. And he will do whatever needs to be done to install a Sharia government in Cairo.

    February 7, 2011 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  14. Randy, San Francisco

    GOP Amateur Hour on foreign policy featuring Gingrich and Palin. Do you really want either of them to pick up the 3 am phone call? The only GOP presidential candidate with credible foreign policy credentials is Jon Huntsman.

    February 7, 2011 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  15. John

    What an idiot! Look at who he names...Regan, Lincoln and Thatcher. Truman? Kennedy? FDR? Jefferson? Oh wait they were Democrats! Umm Ronald Regan = Contra.....what a liar! I am sick of hearing about Regan! He could not hold a candle to Kennedy! Ronald Regan like John Wayne was all MYTH people! It was not real! Do you really think Wayne was some tuff cowboy? Do you really think Regan was a great mind behind the oval office desk? YOU REPUBLICANS LIVE IN A FANTASY WORLD OF MAKE BELIEVE!!! wake the heck up people!

    February 7, 2011 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  16. Former Republican, now an Independent

    Why does CNN waste it's reporting on this idiot??? He resigned from congress in disgrace for committing worse infractions than Charles Rangel, yet was never censured due to his party being in control. Now he's making daily headlines as an expert on nothing!

    February 7, 2011 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  17. JF

    Newt Gingrich... the John Edwards of the GOP.

    February 7, 2011 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  18. Joe

    Given the last Republican Administration's abysmal foreign policy performance, you'd think that the GOP would have the good sense to remember the rule that politics ends where international waters begin. But I guess in this case, Gingrich wants to prove that he can be just as amateurish and irresponsible as Sarah Palin. Congrats Newt, you've now stooped to her level. That should help your popularity.

    February 7, 2011 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  19. DS

    Wisner should not have been appointed in the first place; that was the mistake.

    February 7, 2011 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  20. The reality is...

    Newt would be wise to study the Bible and believe it rather than just studying those who believe in it. Where on earth does he think they got the truth from? (the Bible)

    February 7, 2011 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  21. Ross Robb

    Talk about Amatuerish!!. I am reading "State of Denial" by Bob Woodard and the disfunctional G.W White House leading up to the iraq war. Those guys REALLY screwed us.

    February 7, 2011 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  22. R. Colvin

    I'm sorry. but the fact that Gingrich bases his "amateurish" claims by using his discussions with John Bolton as proof of his vastly superior knowledge of foreign policy is laughable. John Bolton would be the last person I would mention if I wanted to be taken seriously in foreign policy. This is a man who has stated repeatedly that we have to and need to bomb Iran- for any and all reasons – not the type of credentials you would want to hear from if you were trying to maintain stable middle east.

    February 7, 2011 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  23. Mike H

    Newt, on the other hand, is a clear professional at being classless.

    February 7, 2011 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  24. GOP = Greed Over People

    ""I frankly try to study Reagan and (Margaret) Thatcher and (Abraham) Lincoln because I think they were the great truth tellers of modern politics,"

    Translation of Republicanese- To regain power and continue our agenda of "America's failure", we pathological liars can only "study" the truth, lest we actually speak it in the future.

    February 7, 2011 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  25. Kevin

    Just another out of the loop republican blowhard. No concrete ideas, just bash whatever Obama does. That's their strategy and it's why Obama will be easily re-elected. Either come up with an idea of your own or shut up and go away.

    February 7, 2011 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
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