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. ib42

    And Gingrich is the man people listen to for his mature, intelligent and meaningful remarks about President Obama, right?
    So, in the same vein, gwb and cheney were real professionals, right?
    Mr. Obama is a man ahead of his time, dealing with slow, witless morons like this, and there are plenty. Maybe this idiot also thinks that O'reilly, limbaugh and beck are the epitome of class and maturity?
    Why are repukes so blissfully unaware of how totally irrelevant and backward they really are?

    February 8, 2011 04:56 am at 4:56 am |
  2. Joe, San Diego

    Wow to say the Obama administration is amateurish on Egypt I suppose Sarah Palin would have handled the situation like a pro
    and how did the Bush administration handle September 11, 2001 and Hurricane Katrina hmm Gingrich thought Bush was superb!
    Old timers... time to retire it isn't 1960 anymore... times are changing just ask your grandparents and parents

    February 8, 2011 05:04 am at 5:04 am |
  3. Dave

    lol. say "America" Newt. you can't right? you say "Amarica". so amateurish.

    February 8, 2011 05:17 am at 5:17 am |
  4. mike

    NEWT FEAR the muslims FEAR gay marriage FEAR china FEAR abortion lets get go to war and we will all feel better

    February 8, 2011 05:19 am at 5:19 am |
  5. Anonymous

    Inept, is a better word that describes the Obama administrations foriegn policies! ...he's 0 for 6....!!!!

    February 8, 2011 05:25 am at 5:25 am |
  6. Blucorsair

    Inept, is a better word that describes the Obama administration foriegn policies. ...infact inept describes everything about the Obama administraion!!!

    February 8, 2011 05:29 am at 5:29 am |
  7. W.G.

    I hope Gingrich does run for president , America could use the laugh

    February 8, 2011 05:33 am at 5:33 am |
  8. Brian

    Why does anybody care what Newt Gingrich has to say?

    February 8, 2011 05:42 am at 5:42 am |
  9. Name king

    All these repugs do is criticize criticize criticize, and yet they never have a solution in on hand, a baby can stand on the side lines and criticize without finding out if the action done would be positive in the future. And the look of things most of Obama's policies that the repugs scrutinize with a passion have been working since the country is moving in the right direction and not back to the hole the repugs put us in, do you should think twice before criticizing this president, because you guys have been wrong on almost all your criticization of his policies. Look at the health care policies which you guys called judgement day, and coerce the health insurance companies to do all manner of evil to discourage the public approval. That didn't work because now you have more and more people that are for it that actually against it now. It dread me to think what policies these repugs would be making in these situations.

    February 8, 2011 06:19 am at 6:19 am |
  10. Lorna

    No one cares what Newt thinks....truly. The fact supposedly serious news sources keep reporting the words coming out of his mouth or Sarah Palin and their like is discouraging....

    February 8, 2011 06:20 am at 6:20 am |
  11. Kevin

    Reagan the great truth teller? Give me a break! Remember Iran-contra, he ballooned the size of government whilst proclaiming government was the problem, created a huge deficit and telling the people that deficits don't matter. You sir are no truth teller either.

    February 8, 2011 06:22 am at 6:22 am |
  12. JustSaying2U..

    Seems like Mr. Gingrich is having a little trouble in becoming part of the new millenium. His thinking is straight geo-politics straight from the 80's. More proof this man is out of touch, and is so undeserving of higher office.

    February 8, 2011 06:26 am at 6:26 am |
  13. rightsaid

    That Gingrich is taken at all seriously is indeed evidence that "We are in trouble".

    February 8, 2011 06:27 am at 6:27 am |
  14. John

    Why are we listening to this philandering hypocrite? He was disgraced and run out of congress. Why is it that CNN covers this guy and Palin more than anybody that kept their day jobs and are trying to help the country?

    February 8, 2011 06:29 am at 6:29 am |
  15. joe blow

    why is this disgraced blowhard given any media coverage - he is conferring with john "bomb iran" bolton and referencing ronnie reagan who sold missiles to the terrorists in iran who held americans hostage. enuf already.

    February 8, 2011 06:30 am at 6:30 am |
  16. chris

    Whew you can tell when politicians just can't get enough of the lime-light!!! There use to be a time when politicians served their time and once out of office, they enjoyed the benefits of leaving the government behind by going to play golf, hanging with their retired friends, and traveling. But these days it seems we have these guys that are so power hungry they just can't seem to SHUT UP and let it go!! I mean seriously Newt, why don't you GSD!!! GO SIT DOWN!!!

    February 8, 2011 06:30 am at 6:30 am |
  17. Morgan

    How could anyone say he is an amateur? He has so much experience................he organized communities, Im sure he can handle a little problem in Egypt.

    February 8, 2011 06:33 am at 6:33 am |
  18. trex

    It truly is interesting when Newt comes out and disses anyone, esspecially Obama. I wonder what the ONLY SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE TO BE CONVICTED ON ETHICS VIOLATIONS could say that mattered to most people of common sense. The kettle in this story isn't just black, he is a sham of a Republican, a stain on the House of Representatives, and an illogical reference point to determine what is right and wrong with politics in the USA.

    February 8, 2011 06:42 am at 6:42 am |
  19. fbysea

    Obama hasn't invaded Egypt yet.... What an amateur, indeed!

    February 8, 2011 06:49 am at 6:49 am |
  20. Dave

    Whatever. What makes Gingrich an expert on anything related to foreign policy? The last time I checked, he resigned as Speaker of the House in disgrace. He's just a typical Republican – all mouth and no brains.

    February 8, 2011 06:57 am at 6:57 am |
  21. 11cavnam

    If such luminary figures as Newt Gingrich and John Bolton say this administration is handling the crisis wrong, then, the administration must be doing all right. John Bolton cannot even decide on a color for his hair mand mustache that matches, and Newt cannot decide on what woman he wants to stay married to, so these two sit over a dinner and decide whether the administration is handling the crisis right or wrong? Give me a break.

    February 8, 2011 06:58 am at 6:58 am |
  22. Jon in Rochester

    I find it funny that Gingrich studies the "Great Truth Tellers". He hasn't told the truth too many times. He was blasting Clinton over the Monica Lewinski affair when he was having an affair of his own.

    The United States doesn't need to get in the middle of every other nation's affairs. I think that Obama administration handled the Egyptian conflict as well as he could. It's not as simple as these talking heads would make it seem. Maybe Newt thinks that we should send in the troops. He's a typical war monger!

    February 8, 2011 07:05 am at 7:05 am |
  23. Mike

    The right wing calling anyone else amateurish? That's too funny.

    February 8, 2011 07:10 am at 7:10 am |
  24. snowdogg

    So, if the US doesn't pose, bluster and shoot from the lip as previous administration... that's a bad thing? The US doesn't have a lot of say in what's going on in Egypt right now, better to be supportive of peaceful change than get caught favoring the losing side [again].

    February 8, 2011 07:11 am at 7:11 am |
  25. britgirl

    I think that Obama has handled the situation in Egypt well. We are not in a position to go barging in and demanding that reform take place in the way we want it to. Ultimately, this is the decision on for Egyptian people. Whoever ends up in the position of power, the US will have to find a way to work with them, we certainly cant afford another war in another country. And as for Gingrich studying Margaret Thatcher, why?? I lived under her rule as prime minister, she brought the country to a halt! She would be the last person to look at for ideas.

    February 8, 2011 07:12 am at 7:12 am |
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