CNN Crossfire host Newt Gingrich complained on Monday about what he called the rise of “liberal fascism on campuses,” which he blamed for forcing the cancellation of college appearances by former Secretary of State Condolezza Rice and Somalian activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali.
“But the real outrage is an elite media that would have been screaming if right-wing groups had done this to a Somali woman and an African-American woman,” Gingrich said. “And yet, they have been overwhelmingly silent.”
For his part, Gingrich chose not to mention that students and faculty at Rutgers University protested against Rice being selected to speak the school’s commencement over her involvement in former President George W. Bush’s administration during the Iraq war.
An open letter to school president Robert L. Barchi from student protesters published on April 30 in the student newspaper, The Daily Targum, blasted school administrators for an “undemocratic, opaque” selection process and alluded to a Senate report saying Rice approved the use of waterboarding against Iraqi prisoners.
“By inviting her to speak and awarding her an honorary degree, we are encouraging and perpetuating a world that justifies torture and debases humanity,” the letter read. “Yet, you insist on the arbitrary decision to invite Rice to speak and to alienate the countless students and faculty that have been affected by her policies and disagree with you. It is time for that to change.”
Rice announced she would pull out of the speech over the weekend, saying her appearance had become a “distraction.” She was subsequently replaced by former New Jersey Gov. Tom Kean, a fellow Republican.
Gingrich also did not mention that Hirsi Ali has repeatedly been criticized for Islamophobic statements. An online petition calling for Brandeis to rescind its honorary degree for her amassed more than 6,800 signatures.
The former Republican presidential candidate also failed to disclose whether he supported Notre Dame students in 2009 when they objected to the school awarding President Barack Obama with an honorary degree, citing his support for reproductive rights. However, Gingrich did chide current New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) for not sticking up for Rice.
“I’m, frankly, a little disappointed that [Christie] did not do anything to stand up to the Rutgers faculty, who are paid by the taxpayers of New Jersey,” Gingrich said.
Watch Gingrich’s commentary, as aired on Monday by CNN, below.