Gingrich Goes Full-Tilt Crazy With Plan to Test Every Muslim in America

Newt Gingrich showed up on Fox News’ Hannity Thursday to call for something really “kooky” (Bill Kristol’s words) – the imposition of religious tests for Muslims:

“We should frankly test every person here who is of a Muslim background, and if they believe in Sharia, they should be deported.”

This is coming from one of Donald Trump’s most likely VP picks.

In any normal election year, Gingrich would have taken himself out of the running with his remarks, and we can never know what effect they had if any, on Trump’s eventual decision. But in any normal election year Donald Trump would not be in a position to be picking a VP.

He would be off doing normal Trump-things, like screwing over his employees and stiffing vendors and contractors.

Not screwing the American people.

Sean Hannity got the ball rolling by asking Gingrich about a favorite conservative talking point, the Islamization of Europe:

SEAN HANNITY (HOST): I don’t want to really tie this into politics, but every issue America is now dealing with, every issue that we have discussed in recent months and years about the Islamization of Europe, about refugees, about immigration, about open borders — it seems to come together, and also political correctness and not recognizing radical Islamic terrorism as the enemy and evil in our time. From your perspective, what does this tragedy, this evil attack tonight, mean for that conflict and debate?
 
NEWT GINGRICH: Well, first of all, Sean, as you know, I was in Paris just last weekend talking with people who are deeply involved in trying to deal with the Iranian government and other sources of terrorism. And let me also say Daniel Silva has a remarkable new novel called Black Widow, and the entire opening section is on the systematic Islamic attack on Jews in France, which is the worst it’s been since the Nazis. So let me start with where I’m coming from, and let me be as blunt and as direct as I can be.

Yes. Daniel Silva. Good book. Thriller. FICTION. Perhaps Gingrich has been reading too many of Bill O’Reilly’s historical fiction best-sellers and getting fact and fiction confused. Remember how the Bush administration drew inspiration for its torture program from television’s “24”? If Jack Bauer can do it, why can’t we?

Then he returned to some favorite Nazi tropes about Western Civilization at war. Hitler was prepared to do all sorts of horrible things in the name of Western Civilization as well:

Western civilization is in a war. We 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. Modern Muslims who have given up Sharia, glad to have them as citizens. Perfectly happy to have them next door. But we need to be fairly relentless about defining who our enemies are. Anybody who goes on a website favoring ISIS, or Al Qaeda, or other terrorist groups, that should be a felony, and they should go to jail. Any organization which hosts such a website should be engaged in a felony. It should be closed down immediately.
 
Our forces should be used to systematically destroy every internet-based source. And frankly if we can’t destroy them through the internet, we should destroy them with kinetic power, using various weapons starting with Predators, and frankly just killing them. I am sick and tired of being told that the wealthiest, most powerful civilization in history, all of Western civilization, is helpless in the face of a group of medieval barbarians who, for example, recently burned 20 young women to death — burned them to death because they wouldn’t have sex with them. A group which beheaded recently in the Philippines two Canadian businessmen.

So we have this thing called the First Amendment which protects our right to believe as we will in religious matters. Republicans can pretend all they want that the world’s second-largest religion is not a religion, but it is a religion. They can even pretend Sharia is something peculiarly and uniquely pernicious, but Sharia is pretty much identical to the Law of Moses Evangelicals go on and on about, telling us all (like they complain Muslims do) that we must all obey it.

Gingrich wasn’t just talking about religious tests, however:

“Look, the first step is you have to ask them the questions. The second step is you have to monitor what they’re doing on the internet. The third step is — let me be very clear. You have to monitor the mosques. I mean if you’re not prepared to monitor the mosque, this whole thing is a joke.”

Hannity said this was “a powerful statement” and that he agreed “wholeheartedly.” Of course he did. You can’t separate Hannity from stupidity.

Yet even Fox News contributor Stephen Hayes tweeted his objections to the plan, calling it “embarrassing”:

And Bill Kristol was no less scathing in his response:

Trump plans on ruling as a dictator, so I think the answer to Bill’s question should be obvious.

Leave it to Olivia Nuzzi of The Daily Beast to ask a real, practical question, because Republicans are confused by what they can do as opposed to what they want to do, often thinking they are the same thing:

As Nuzzi reminds us, Gingrich was comparing Muslims to Nazis, and now, a few years later, he sits before us being the Nazi himself on behalf of a presumptive nominee who sleeps with Hitler on his nightstand and gives Hitler salutes.

Sorry Bill. Kooky hardly begins to cover it.