Newt Gingrich is calling for political unity — which has sent social media atwitter.
The former Republican Speaker of the House argues against impeaching former President Donald Trump a second time in a pair of tweets that have gone viral, warning that this will undermine new President Joe Biden’s attempts to unify the nation by turning the ex-chief executive into a martyr … just like Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny.
“Establishment politicians should think long and hard before turning President Trump into the American equivalent of Alexei Navalny,” Gingrich tweeted Sunday, referring to President Vladimir Putin’s most prominent critic, who spent five months in Germany recovering from severe nerve-agent poisoning that he has blamed on the Kremlin, and which Russian authorities have denied.
Navalny was arrested upon returning to Russia from Germany on Jan. 17, and Russian police arrested more than 3,000 people participating in nationwide protests demanding the activist’s release on Saturday. The U.S. State Department has condemned “the use of harsh tactics against protestors and journalists” that was caught on camera over the weekend, further straining U.S.-Russian relations.
Gingrich’s ratioed tweet drew more than 14,000 comments overnight and was still trending on Twitter on Monday morning — well above its 4,000 or so retweets — with many critics like former congressman and Republican presidential candidate Joe Walsh arguing that Trump should be compared to Putin, not Navalny, in light of his unsubstantiated claims of election fraud and the present impeachment charges accusing Trump of inciting the insurrection at the Capitol on Jan. 6.
Others dug up an interview Gingrich gave to the Washington Post in 1989, when he was the House Republican whip, when he described the GOP strategy to separate Americans along party lines over issues like education in order to win elections. “Now we have a way of dividing America,” he said at the time.
“It’s true we have an increasingly bitter divide in this country. I’m curious, whose fault do you think that is, Newt?” tweeted another reader.
House Democrats will introduce the charge against Trump of “incitement of insurrection” to the Senate on Monday evening, but some GOP senators have cooled on impeachment now that Trump is out of office. Florida senator Mark Rubio called it “stupid” and “counterproductive.”
Arguments in the Senate impeachment trial will begin the week of Feb. 8, giving Trump’s team and House prosecutors time to prepare, and also freeing the Senate up to confirm some of Biden’s Cabinet nominees.