Is Newt Gingrich At The RNC?

by Noor Al-Sibai

The drama surrounding Donald Trump's vice president nomination has some wondering: Is Newt Gingrich at the RNC? He's a loyal supporter of The Donald, even though he didn't make the ticket.

Given that Donald Trump passed over Gingrich for vice president, it'd be unsurprising if the former Speaker of the House chose not to attend this year's Republican National Convention. However, he's proved his loyalty to Trump and the Trump campaign by — you guessed it — showing up to the RNC. The former Georgia congressman told reporters that although Trump picked Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as his running mate, he agrees with Trump's decision and said he thinks Pence will do more to unify the party than he could.

Not only is Gingrich in attendance at the coveted GOP event, he criticized those Republicans (including Mitt Romney, John Kasich, and Jeb Bush) who chose not to show up by calling them "bad losers" who couldn't handle defeat.

In his speech at the New York delegation's breakfast on the first day of the RNC, Gingrich called for racial unity in challenging Democrats' appeal to minority voters. "No white American understands the pressures of being African American," Gingrich told New Yorkers. He advised that New York City should be the main political target, and shouldn't be discounted as automatically blue, or Democratic.

Gingrich continued with his conversation about minority issues: "They're not happy — I don't care if it's African-Americans in parts of Manhattan, I don't care if it's Latinos in Queens, I don't care what group you're talking about. It starts with the city, because if you break the city, you own the state."

Gingrich's recent remarks about structural racism were certainly surprising given his history of bigotry that continued after he spoke about the difficulties African Americans face when, in the wake of the Nice, France, attack, he suggested that Muslim Americans should be "tested" to see if they support sharia law and deported if they do. This isn't Gingrich's first time at the reactionary Islamophobic rodeo: In 2009, Gingrich penned an editorial for the conservative magazine Human Events in which he argued in favor of discriminating and profiling Muslims following the 2009 Fort Hood shooting by a Palestinian-American Army major.

Gingrich's appeal to racial unity between white and black Americans amidst his sustained Islamophobia seems to miss one crucial point: that many African Americans are also Muslim and that Middle Eastern and North African Muslims only account for 20 percent of Muslims worldwide. Perhaps next time Gingrich tries to sell diversity he'll do his homework. But whatever his views, Gingrich is at the RNC and will likely be there for the entire week supporting the Trump campaign however he thinks best.