Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich spoke exclusively with Breitbart News on Wednesday, calling for presidential candidates, the RNC, and every House and Senate member to stand firm in support of the national defense spending bill, despite President Obama’s threat to veto over his social program funding demands. Gingrich called on all Republicans to drive home that the President is trying to “blackmail the Congress, using American men and women in uniform as hostages.”
“What the White House has said is unless the Congress passes increased domestic spending that they would veto defense spending,” Gingrich told Breitbart News. “I think that they believe that the news media will blame Republicans even if it’s Obama who does it.”
“I think [the Democrat establishment] are counting on the Republicans to cave,” he said, adding:
I think it’s extraordinary. It’s a test of communications skill if the Commander in Chief is threatening to cut off defense spending, and they can’t make that an issue, and they can’t communicate that to the country. Then Republicans ought to work overtime to make sure that the country understands that this President is prepared to abandon our troops in order to get more domestic spending.
The call from Gingrich:
I think all the Republicans, in an orchestrated effort, including the presidential candidates, should drive home that this is the President blackmailing the Congress, using American men and women in uniform as hostages. If they can develop that unified theme and they all say it, I think they force the media to decide that it’s Obama who’s at fault, but the media won’t get there voluntarily.
He stressed that Republicans have the power to put the news media “in a position that they look crazy if they don’t admit that it’s Obama doing it.”
Asked if Republicans “need to over and over again drive that home and not back down” Gingrich replied:
Right. Every presidential candidate should be talking about it, the RNC should talk about it, every member of the House and Senate should talk about it, and they should start organizing veterans groups and pro-defense groups to say that for the Commander in Chief to want to use his own troops as hostages in order to get more spending for social programs should be unacceptable to about 75 percent of the American people.
The bill is bipartisan and has been renewed for 53 years. The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) is an example of bipartisanship effectively executed for many years.
When asked if the Democrats who upheld the bill during passage were likely to remain strong or cave under Obama’s veto threat, Gingrich replied:
Harry Reid and Obama have a very good track record of getting Democrats to vote against themselves in order for the team to win. It’s remarkable to watch. But this is a very emotional issue, and if it becomes public enough and if enough people are talking about it, I think a lot of Democrats will split with the President. If it remains just a Washington conversation, I suspect they can get their arms twisted and stand by the President.
Having been a 2012 presidential candidate, Gingrich was asked what he would say of the bill if he were running as one of the 2016 candidates:
All they have to say is it is totally unpatriotic for the Commander in Chief to take the lives of young men and women who are risking their lives in uniform and use them as hostages to get more social spending.
They can call on the President to back down, and they can call on the House and Senate Republicans to stand firm.
Gingrich said he did not have any specific groups in mind, but that there are many people who have a “deep interest in stopping the President from this kind of blackmail.”
Presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) was pegged in late September to lead an effort to defund Planned Parenthood, even to the point of government shutdown. “Democrats should fear government shutdowns because Democratic voters like government and are dependent on it in higher proportion,” Breitbart News Senior Editor-at-Large Ben Shapiro wrote of the then-potential shutdown. “Every time Republicans argue that government shutdowns end the world, they campaign as Democrats. Last time the government shut down, America somehow avoided the zombie apocalypse.”
At the Family Leadership Summit in Iowa last July, Cruz pointed out that following the contentious 2013 government shutdown and his filibuster effort to defund Obamacare, Republicans saw a historic election victory in 2014, winning a majority in the Senate.
Newt Gingrich and his wife Callista appeared Tuesday in San Diego, signing copies of their respective books Duplicity and Christmas in America. Duplicity is a political thriller, and Christmas in America is one in a series of children’s books; this installment focuses on the history of Christmas in the United States.
Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana.