Newt Gingrich’s Track Record Is Likely Concerning For So Many Marginalized Groups
As the dust continues to settle from president-elect Donald Trump's historic presidential win, news about his potential cabinet picks have been revealed. And while countless American citizens expressed sincere concerns about Trump's notable campaign rhetoric that directly takes aim at their identities (whether it's race, gender, religion, sexual orientation...etc etc...), his potential cabinet choices are likely cause for more concern. BuzzFeed released a list of Trump's potential cabinet picks on Wednesday, and as it turns out, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has made more than one appearance on that list. But for people who strongly oppose Trump, Gingrich's track record is likely concerning. According to a list obtained by BuzzFeed, Gingrich is being considered for Secretary of Health and Human Services and Secretary of State.
Gingrich was elected to Congress in 1978, and served the 6th District of Georgia. He served for 20 years, and in 1998, Gingrich announced he would not run for re-election, according to PBS. As PBS and a 1994 article in The Baltimore Sun noted, Gingrich's policies while in Congress notably represented a targeted and aggressive anti-welfare, anti-food stamps, war on drugs, and war on crime agenda. But as many at the time and present-day analyze, those agendas in the mid 1990s were often rooted in racial undertones and agendas, and without consideration of the powerful nuances of America's history of systemic economic racial discrimination.
Gingrich became the Republican Speaker of the House in 1995, and led the controversial welfare reform bill: "Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996," which was signed by then-President Bill Clinton. And when Gingrich campaigned for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination, he continued the anti-welfare rhetoric with heavy racial undertones. In fact, he referred to President Obama as the "food stamps president" during his campaign run.
Gingrich has publicly supported Trump following his win in the Republican primaries, and some of his interactions have drawn concern for his views on women. In one heated exchange with Fox News host Megyn Kelly – concerning Trump's troubling remarks about his alleged interactions with women – Gingrich notably wagged his finger to Kelly insisting that she is just "fascinated with sex." (Of course all while dismissing the sexual assault allegations made against Trump by a number of women.)
But as The Nation reported, there are lists of troubling remarks Gingrich has made throughout his political career, as they pertain to race, gender, and religion. He has helped spread the inherently racist rhetoric that President Obama was not born in the United States, he's questioned the physical ability of women in combat, and he's openly criticized the LBGTQ community by evoking fear-mongering tactics that say they pose a "threat" and implore "violence" and "harassment" in their fight and protests for equality. Not to mention, he's previously compared the efforts of building a mosque near Ground Zero in lower Manhattan to Nazis putting "a sign next to the Holocaust museum," in an interview with Fox News.
With Gingrich on the list to hold a cabinet position, it's no wonder why people of marginalized groups would be concerned.