Newt Gingrich is the latest right wing figure to make a gracious statement on the death of Nelson Mandela, and find himself the target of thousands of abusive, racist and hateful messages from his own base as a result.
“President Nelson Mandela was one of the greatest leaders of our lifetime,” he wrote. “When he visited the Congress I was deeply impressed with the charisma and the calmness with which he could dominate a room. It was as if the rest of us grew smaller and he grew stronger and more dominant the longer the meeting continued.”
Gingrich’s statement, however, was met with backlash from many of his followers.
“Newt, I was rooting for you to win the primaries and become the next president; please tell me your joking!! Mandela was a commie murderer!!” read one comment that was popular with other users.
“You’re forgetting Mandela’s extreme racism! There are YouTubes of Mandela singing songs about murdering the white man. I spit on his grave….,” read another.
When asked about the criticism in an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday, Gingrich replied, “I was very surprised by it. [My wife] Callista posted my statement on her Facebook page and was amazed at some of the intensity — some of whom came back three, four and five times repeating how angry they were.”
Gingrich’s words on Mandela may sound sane enough, but I’m not sure why he’s surprised by the response from the right wing base. After all, this is the same guy who was scheduled to speak at hate group leader Pamela Geller’s “Ground Zero Mosque” rally, the same guy who called Obama “the first food stamp President,” and the same guy who said Obama has a “Kenyan world view.” Among many other similar statements.
He’s been blatantly pandering to the knuckle draggers in the right wing base for decades, but now he’s shocked! when they react exactly as he’s indoctrinated them to react? I don’t believe it, sorry. He’s no political dummy; he had to expect this.