Former House speaker Newt Gingrich responded to Thursday night’s truck terror attack in France by arguing for the expulsion from the US of any Muslim who believes in Sharia law.
Gingrich was being considered as a possible running mate by presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.
The former Georgia congressman said on Fox News Channel’s “Hannity” that the US “should frankly test every person here who is of a Muslim background, and if they believe in Sharia, they should be deported. Sharia is incompatible with Western civilization.”
Gingrich was calling the terror attack in Nice, France, which killed at least 80 people, “the fault of Western elites who lack the guts to do what is right, to do what is necessary, and to tell us the truth, and that starts with Barack Obama.”
Trump abruptly postponed plans to announce his vice presidential pick following a day of rampant speculation, citing the “horrible attack” in Nice, France, that left scores dead.
Trump had planned to hold his first event with his yet-to-be-named running mate Friday morning in New York. He announced the change of plans Thursday evening on Twitter.
The stunning announcement raised questions about the status of Trump’s selection process. Indiana Gov. Mike Pence had emerged as a late favorite for the job, though Trump said he had not finalized the pick and advisers cautioned he could change his mind.
“I haven’t made my final, final decision,” Trump said on Fox News Channel. He said that while his running mate selection would “absolutely not” be changed by the France attack, he did not feel it was appropriate to hold a news conference in its aftermath.
In addition to Pence, Trump’s vice presidential shortlist included former House speaker Gingrich and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, according to people familiar with the candidate’s thinking.
After spending much of Thursday in Indianapolis, Pence flew to New York late in the day, according to a Republican familiar with the process. Indianapolis television station WTHR posted a video showing Pence arriving at a private airport outside New York early Thursday evening.
Dozens of people were killed late Thursday in the French resort city of Nice when a truck drove onto a sidewalk and plowed through a crowd of Bastille Day revelers who’d gathered to watch fireworks in what the French government confirmed was a terror attack. Trump told Fox News after the attack that if he’s elected president he would ask Congress for a declaration of war on the Islamic State group.
Democrat Hillary Clinton, also appearing on Fox, said the US needs to “stand strongly” with France and said she would intensify efforts to put together a more effective coalition against terrorism.
“We will not be intimidated,” Clinton said.
The Democratic presidential candidate said the US and France will never let terrorists undermine democratic values. She said the “cowardly attack only strengthens our commitment to our alliance and to defeating terrorism around the world.”