As protests over the death of George Floyd continue to erupt across the country, President Donald Trump has condemned Antifa for instigating violence and looting at the marches. The President has tweeted that the U.S. will designate Antifa as a terrorist organization.
The far-left, anti-fascist group has borne the brunt of the blame for much of the destruction surrounding the protests.
The President’s call to designate Antifa joins a chorus of voices concerned with the ability of fringe voices to dictate the tone of the conversation. Some of these voices include the growing call to “defund the police” which has many law enforcement commentators warning how the slogan is the start of a slippery slope that takes away the police’s ability to enforce law and order.
Former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich, joined The Cats Roundtable to discuss the feverish pace of events this past week, and why he’s still more optimistic than ever of America’s future.
“This is a very difficult time for America,” Gingrich told The Cats Roundtable. “And we’re struggling with our identity.”
Gingrich explained the current convulsion of violence is rooted in a long growth of “anti-American ideology.”
This ideology includes an increasing hostility to the plurality of ideas in higher education and mainstream media. The former Speaker pointed to the partisan backlash against the New York Times for publishing an editorial written by Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton, a Republican, as well as the rising calls to remove monuments from public places that disrupt a politically correct narrative of history.
He called Antifa the “most extreme” example of this ideology, and was glad the President had called for their classification as a terrorist organization.
“I think it’s very dangerous to have some extremist define for us what we’re allowed to think,” he said.
Gingrich mentioned the recent take over in Seattle of a police precinct, noting that after the police were told to evacuate the area, they called it “remarkable” that Seattle city council members were seemingly approving of the take over.
The events in Seattle are turning into a larger test of the faith law enforcement have in the communities they are sworn to protect, and Gingrich said it is “a case study of what happens with the rule of law.”
“I think law enforcement now feels like nobody’s protecting it,” Gingrich said, adding in the end it was the most vulnerable who will suffer the most.
“It’s the helpless, it’s the poor, it’s the weak who are most hurt, because they’re the people who need the protection of the law.”
Also this past week, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley issued a public statement that expressed regret for having participated in the President’s photo-op in front of St. John’s Episcopal Church on June 5th.
While Gingrich agreed with Milley that “the military should stay out of politics—period,” he suggested it was probably better if the President hadn’t “invited him.”
But Gingrich told The Cats Roundtable “we should be very careful” with military officers picking and choosing the orders they carry out.
“When you are directly involved with criticizing the President who’s running for reelection, you’re really very close to the edge of having the military get involved in politics.”
Gingrich believes all of the issues now will culminate in November, but is optimistic of Trump’s victory, describing Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s recent public performances as “embarrassing.”
But Gingrich pulled no punches when he said Trump is going to have his fight cut out for him.
“He’s going to have to win despite the news media’s unendingly hostile coverage,” Gingrich said, telling The Cats Roundtable he hoped the President will focus “a little bit more on strategy” as Fall approaches.
Listen to the interview below