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. Starman

    I thought that fat man left the building a long time ago. Tell him to go talk to Fox News so his crud cant target people who care.

    February 8, 2011 01:15 am at 1:15 am |
  2. Mel Johnson

    John Bolton?! Now there's a real expert! Just another American Exceptionalist bullyboy. The rules of decent behavior don't apply to the US. Ho-hum! Newt is intelligent, but he's wasting his time taking on this topic if he needs a consultant like that. Next!

    February 8, 2011 01:19 am at 1:19 am |
  3. M. Simons

    John Bolton???? Seriously? That idiot has been out of touch for years – why would anyone pay attention to anything he says?

    February 8, 2011 01:22 am at 1:22 am |
  4. angryoldguy

    The author of the nefarious "Contract with America" who was dallying with an intern while he was trying to impeach Clinton for the same thing, now wants to call the President "amateurish". He must get his info from Palin. As far as the "Muslim Brotherhood" goes (read "new boogeyman") this organization was established in 1928 and is at best a very small minority that disavows violence in any form, and condemed the actions of the 9/11 terrorists. If you don't believe that, look it up, as I did. And relax, the people of Egypt must make up their minds for themselves, it's their choice, not ours!

    February 8, 2011 01:23 am at 1:23 am |
  5. phonylies

    Come on Newt you fat cow you have no standing at all. You got your butt kicked by Clinton and he had his hands tied behind his back.

    February 8, 2011 01:26 am at 1:26 am |
  6. Something New

    Oh oh ....someone call the ambulance for me. He just opened his mouth again. Take this baseball bat and knock me out the next time he speaks. (My head between my palms).

    February 8, 2011 01:31 am at 1:31 am |
  7. BDA

    Newtie likes to listen to the "great truthtellers," huh? Yes, the old lying philanderer still has a high - and completely undeserved - opinion of himself.

    February 8, 2011 01:35 am at 1:35 am |
  8. bobden

    Newt thinks someone is amaturish? Newt is incompetent to judge anyone. Or to do anything else.
    And Bolton is no better. He is one of the more incompetent and should never been sent to represent us at the U.N

    February 8, 2011 01:42 am at 1:42 am |
  9. Gaylon Barrow

    I agree with you Ginrich but you're not the one to help us rid ourselves from this cancer. He also wants the Islamic Brotherhood of Muslims to head the government in Egypt. This is his dream for America. Wake up my fellow Americans. You have a fox in the henhouse (White House).

    February 8, 2011 01:59 am at 1:59 am |

    This guys still alive? this is his sound bite for 2012. "he wishes" Newts belong under a rock with rest of "the good OLD boys"

    February 8, 2011 02:11 am at 2:11 am |
  11. Chris

    It's funny that Gingrich would consider him 'amateurish' considering that Newt has never even really been seriously considered as a potential as a presidential candidate. Even Sarah Palin has made it further than Newt in those regards.

    So Newt, if you want to talk about 'amateur,' we'll take your word for it. Nobody knows 'amateur' like Newt knows 'amateur' simply because of how much experience he has.

    February 8, 2011 02:18 am at 2:18 am |
  12. hwy9

    That Gingrich believes himself, and John Bolton of all people, capable of dealing with the turbulent situation in Egypt any better than the current President of the United States is laughable. Both are arrogant, inflexible men who have no place working in, or commenting upon, international diplomacy in the Middle East.

    February 8, 2011 02:48 am at 2:48 am |
  13. Joe

    Gingrich is an absolute waste of life. Reagan also funded Saddam Hussein, Iran and Osama bin Laden. Obama should not do a thing about this. if Egyptians want freedom they must fight for it.

    February 8, 2011 02:53 am at 2:53 am |
  14. TransWarpDrive

    Gingrich talked to John Bolton – that ultra-conservative, self-righteous, nasty UN ambassador under George W. Bush – about the Obama administration's handling of the Egyptian crisis?? Hardly an unbiased, objective observer there. Of course Bolton's going to bad-mouth an Obama appointee. What else could he do as a right-wing Republican? Especially considering who he was talking to. IMO, Bolton told Gingrich exactly what he wanted to hear so ol' Newt would have more ammo for his anti-Obama rants.

    February 8, 2011 03:02 am at 3:02 am |
  15. producer

    you guys report on gingrich as if people actually pay attention to what he has to say. what up and why bother?

    February 8, 2011 03:11 am at 3:11 am |
  16. bobby

    Gingrich is irrelevant.

    February 8, 2011 03:23 am at 3:23 am |
  17. Not fooled

    Honestly who cares what this man thinks.

    February 8, 2011 03:32 am at 3:32 am |
  18. Phil

    What else would we expect good ole Newty the right wing extremist and adulterer to say? The man is representative of the right wing.

    February 8, 2011 04:08 am at 4:08 am |
  19. mantysman

    and anyone should listen to this guy for what reason?

    February 8, 2011 04:10 am at 4:10 am |
  20. Marry

    Of cause, Newt knows better...we noticed when he was working the ropes...

    February 8, 2011 04:20 am at 4:20 am |
  21. Hotdog

    This man is pitiful. He talks out both sides of his mouth. He thinks people are stupid enough to vote for him for POTUS.

    February 8, 2011 04:28 am at 4:28 am |
  22. W.G.

    I hope Gingrich does run for president we could all use the laugh !

    February 8, 2011 04:33 am at 4:33 am |
  23. Josaphat Daniels

    Why must the republican solution for every international crisis always be wars,no diplomacy but wars. Somethimes in wars
    or crises diplomacy is also a solution it is just a matter of when to negotiate and that is the only option and the wise decision
    in this case involving Egypt, because quite frankly I don't see how America will invade Egypt to resolve the crisis in that
    country, gingrinch and the rest of his GOP bufoons and bimbos are still living in the cold war days and if by some bad luck
    they end up in the white house, they will unleash WW III(world war III)

    February 8, 2011 04:50 am at 4:50 am |
  24. Robert Shank

    Oh!! And you are such a "Pro" Newt! You Republicans are soooo tone deaf. Don't show us what we have tried to FORGET about you!

    February 8, 2011 04:51 am at 4:51 am |
  25. Derka Derr

    The right is setting itself up for more disappointment, if they really think after all their failures that it will be this easy to bring down Obama, they have another thing coming. I don't know if anyone has been awake the eight years these guys were in power, but the fact remains that their foreign policy specifically is like having the mentality of a caveman, sorry people but your attempt to make American as dumb as you, failed with the rest of your agenda.

    February 8, 2011 04:52 am at 4:52 am |
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