After at least 84 people were killed in the terrorist attack in Nice, France, Donald Trump, the presumptive presidential nominee for the Republican Party, was asked for his response. Then someone pulled the string in his back, and he responded as follows:
I’d be making it very, very hard for people to come into our country, for one thing, from terrorist areas. I would be so extreme in terms of documentation. We have people that Hillary Clinton wants to allow 550% more than Obama, and Obama is allowing a lot of people to come in, and we have no idea who they are. They are from Syria, maybe, but they have no paperwork, many times they don’t have documentation proper. I would make it—I would not allow people to come in from terrorist nations. I would do extreme vetting—I would call it extreme vetting, too—and, you know, our country has tremendous problems. We don’t need any more of the problems.
Trump's call for a crackdown on immigration as a response to terrorism is now a familiar refrain. What's different this time is an accompaniment by a featured artist who apparently still desperately wants to be Trump's vice presidential candidate.
Shortly after the attack, Newt Gingrich, the former speaker of the House, echoed Trump's xenophobic response and even managed to up the ante.
“Western civilization is in a war,” Gingrich said in an appearance on Fox News Channel. “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.”
Gingrich's answer is notable not just for its Trump-like attack on Muslims—those already in the United States—but also for its profound ignorance of Islamic tradition. Sharia describes a set of rules and principles adhered to by people of the Islamic faith. Like all religions, Islam has rules, and sometimes those rules are called Sharia. Common Muslim traditions like observing the Ramadan fast are considered part of following Sharia. That means in Newt Gingrich's (and Donald Trump's) America, celebrating an annual holiday might be enough to get you kicked out of the country.
Trump announced Friday that he had settled on Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as his vice presidential running mate, and would make it official at a news conference on Saturday morning.
Pence tried to block Syrian refugees from being resettled in Indiana, but he also opposed Trump's proposed ban on Muslim immigration:
Gingrich's remarks show there's still time for Trump to pick a fellow raging Islamophobe if he wants to.