Former Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich on Monday compared the protests in support of slain African-American teen Trayvon Martin to a “lynch mob.”
Gingrich spoke to CNN’s Michaela Pereira on Monday morning after people around the country reacted to a jury’s decision on Saturday to find George Zimmerman not guilty of Martin’s murder by taking part in largely peaceful rallies, sit-ins, marches and vigils.
The Georgia Republican blamed the news media for inciting demonstrations by emphasizing the racial aspects of the story.
“You know, George Zimmerman is Hispanic, he’s a Latino,” Gingrich opined. “So, if that had been correctly stated from the very beginning — and The New York Times invents this entire new topic, ‘white Hispanic,’ to try to maximize the racial implication.”
“The fact is that six women sat in a jury for five solid weeks,” he continued. “I watched these protesters, none of whom read the transcript, none of whom sat through five weeks of the trial, all of whom who are prepared basically to be a lynch mob. They only wanted one verdict.”
In his book, An Analysis of Southern Lynchings, 1882-1930, Stewart Emory Tolnay explains that the “lynching era encompasses roughly the five decades between the end of Reconstruction and the beginning of the Great Depression.”
“During these years we may estimate that there were 2,018 separate incidents of lynching in which at least 2,462 African-American men, women and children met their deaths in the grasp of southern mobs, comprised mostly of whites,” Tolnay writes. “Although lynchings and mob killings occurred before 1880, notably during early Reconstruction when blacks were enfranchised, radical racism and mob violence peaked during the 1890s in a surge of terrorism that did not dissipate until well into the twentieth century.”
Watch this video from CNN’s New Day, broadcast July 15, 2013.