Former Speaker of the House (and likely failed candidate to become Donald Trump's running mate) Newt Gingrich gave a response to the terror attack in Nice, France last night that is breathtaking in its unconstitutionality, impracticality, and inhumanity.
Speaking to Fox News' Sean Hannity, Gingrich said, "Western civilization is at war," adding, "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."
Pew Research Center (PRC) estimates that there are approximately 3.3 million Muslims in the U.S., and as PRC's Besheer Mohamed notes, "About one-in-five American Muslim adults were raised in a different faith or none at all. At the same time, a similar number of people who were raised Muslim no longer identify with the faith. About as many Americans become Muslim as leave Islam."
How exactly the government would interview each person of a "Muslim background" — much less determine whether or not they believe in sharia — is left unexplained, as is any consideration that having "incorrect" beliefs is a constitutionally protected right of all Americans. Further (and it's incredible this needs to be said) a person living their life in accordance with sharia law does not automatically them a violent threat. A learned person who so desperately wants to ride the "anti-P.C." coattails of Donald Trump should be well aware of this, but no matter, Gingrich isn't done shredding the Constitution.
After paying cursory respect to "modern Muslims," Gingrich proposed making a felony out of visiting "any website that favors ISIS," as well as "any organization which hosts such a website," which would presumably include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and innumerably more sites where people freely engage in all sorts of incendiary speech. This would also make criminals out of journalists, academics, activists, and any number of people with an interest in learning about "the enemy," but that's of little concern to the simple-minded tough-guy rhetoric of Gingrich who thinks "this is the fault of Western elites who lack the guts to do what is right, to do what is necessary, and to tell us the truth."
Gingrich is hardly the first to call for limits on free speech because of the supposedly existential threat posed by ISIS, but his "constitutional conservative" bona fides are probably not helped by the fact that he is now parroting the same anti-free speech positions held by people like his own long-time nemesis Hillary Clinton and the leftist law professor Eric Posner.
Watch Gingrich beclown himself below: