In the wake of the recent terrorist attack in Nice, France, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich called for the U.S. government to question and or deport all U.S. Muslims.
President Obama was quick to denounce the hateful, bigoted, and xenophobic suggestion from Gingrich.
“In the wake of last night’s attacks, we have heard more suggestions that all Muslims in America be targeted, tested for their beliefs, some deported or jailed,” Obama said in his first public comments since the attack.“The very suggestion is repugnant and an affront to everything we stand for as Americans,” he continued. “We cannot give into fear or turn on each other or sacrifice our way of life. We cannot let ourselves be divided by religion because that’s exactly what the terrorists want. We should never do their work for them.”
Gingrich has since tried to walk back his comments, suggesting that Muslims should not be deported, at least, not ones that are U.S. citizens.
Obama, though, said the divide in the U.S. was not between ethnicity or religious groups.
“It’s been a difficult several weeks here in the United States, but the divide that exists is not between races and ethnicities and religions. It is between people who recognize the common humanity of all people and are willing to build institutions that promote that common humanity and those who do not,” he said.
The president is wrong about religion not being divisive in the U.S. With religious groups fighting against secular law, and Islamists carrying out attacks in California and most recently, Orlando, we know that religion is dividing Americans and many around the world.
However, the president’s comments on Gingrich’s bigotry are spot on.