(CNSNews.com) – Listing terrorist atrocities around the world over “just the past 37 days” since the Orlando attack, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich told the Republican National Convention Wednesday night that America was “at war with radical Islamists.”
In a rousing and provocative speech that strongly endorsed the GOP presidential nominee and slammed his Democratic rival, Gingrich said Donald Trump speaks the truth about the threat while “our national security and foreign policy elites, led by Hillary Clinton, are incapable of speaking with such honesty” and “lie.”
He praised Trump for having the “courage to tell some important truths about our national security. For example: We are at war. We are at war with radical Islamists. They are determined to kill us. They are stronger than we admit. And there is no substitute for victory.”
In America’s enemies had their way, Gingrich told the packed convention hall, “not a single woman in this room could define her future.”
“If our enemies had their way, gays, lesbians and transgender citizens would be put to death as they are today in the Islamic State and Iran,” he continued. “If our enemies had their way, every person on earth would be subject to conversion by the sword and to a cruel and violent system of law.”
“There would be no individual liberty. There would be no equality. There would be no freedom.”
Gingrich then listed one by one terror attacks carried out across the world over little more than the past month, including deadly attacks in the French city of Nice, in Baghdad, in Bangladesh, at the Istanbul airport in Turkey, the gruesome murder of a policeman and his partner in their home in Paris, and the attack on a nightclub in Orlando, Florida.
“All this in just the past 37 days,” he told the convention. “We cannot let ourselves grow numb to these accumulating atrocities.”
Gingrich said Trump was right: “We are at war with radical Islamists, we are losing the war, and we must change course to win the war.”
Although the “vast majority” of Muslims in the U.S. and around the world were peaceful – and Muslims themselves were often the victims of terrorism – “the challenge is, when even a small percentage of 1.6 billion people support violence against those who disagree with them, that is still a giant recruiting base.”
Gingrich pointed to a Pew poll finding that nine percent of Pakistani Muslims support the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS/ISIL).
“Unfortunately, nine percent is 16 million people,” he said. “And that’s just one country.”
Gingrich said up to now America has been “very lucky.”
The danger now, he contended, was greater than it was on 9/11, citing the possibility of terrorists carrying out a weapons of mass destruction attack on an American city.
“In a world where Pakistan has nuclear weapons, where North Korea has nuclear weapons, and where Iran, the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, is close to having nuclear weapons this – a catastrophic attack on innocent Americans – is a very real threat.”
“Which brings us to the heart of the matter,” he continued. “We are sleepwalking through history as though this is all about politics. It is not. It is about our safety and our survival as a country.”
“And that is why every American should be terrified at the prospect of a Hillary Clinton presidency,” he said.
Gingrich accused the administration and its allies of having lied to the American people about the Iran nuclear deal; accused Clinton of lying about the 2012 Benghazi terrorist attack; and accused both Clinton and President Obama of lying when they say they can safely screen Syrian refugees admitted into the United States.
(And, he added, Clinton wants to increase the number of Syrian refugees resettled in the U.S. by 500 percent – a charge Politifact quickly examined, and judged to be “mostly true.”)
“So when you hear about Hillary’s dishonesty, or the emails, or taking millions from the Saudis and other Middle Eastern dictatorships, remember: this is not about politics,” Gingrich said. “The cost of Hillary’s dishonesty could be the loss of America as we know it.”
Covering for Cruz?
Gingrich’s speech brought mixed reviews on social and other online media, with some calling it a highlight of the convention so far. Some suggested that the former House Speaker – once tipped to be Trump’s running mate – was rehearsing for the secretary of state post.
Others panned the speech, with Zack Beauchamp of Vox calling it “base fearmongering” and Salon deputy politics editor Sophia Tesfaye describing it as “the most nightmarish vision of the global climate delivered at any point throughout an RNC full of the most insidious right-wing lies.”
For many observers, the biggest talking point was Gingrich’s apparent attempt to placate the convention after the previous speaker, former presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), was booed after not explicitly endorsing Trump.
Cruz urged his listeners not to stay away from the polls in November.
“Stand and speak and vote your conscience,” he said. “Vote for candidates up and down the ticket who you trust to defend our freedom and to be faithful to the Constitution.”
While Cruz did not yield as sections of the convention chanted “Endorse Trump!” Gingrich in his speech said some at the convention had got the wrong message.
“I think you misunderstood one paragraph that Ted Cruz, who’s a superb orator, said,” Gingrich said.
“Ted Cruz said, you can vote your conscience for anyone who will uphold the Constitution. In this election, there is only one candidate who will uphold the Constitution,” Gingrich added.
“So, to paraphrase Ted Cruz, if you want to protect the Constitution of the United States the only possible candidate this fall is the Trump/Pence Republican ticket.”