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Gingrich: Pelosi should go through with Taiwan trip, take bipartisan delegation

"If the Department of Defense is not certain that it can protect an American Speaker of the House in a public visit," said the former speaker, "why would we think they could protect Taiwan?"

Former House speaker Newt Gingrich, who represented Georgia's 6th congressional district from 1979 to 1999
Former House speaker Newt Gingrich, who represented Georgia's 6th congressional district from 1979 to 1999 | Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons

July 25, 2022 11:11pm

Updated: July 26, 2022 9:45am

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich says he hopes House Speaker Nancy Pelosi "sticks to her guns" and moves forward with her planned trip to Taiwan, adding that he would like to see her take a bipartisan delegation of lawmakers with her.

"I feel very strongly that Speaker Pelosi should go to Taiwan and that she should take a bipartisan congressional delegation," Gingrich said during a speech at the America First Policy Institute's America First Agenda Summit on Monday. "I can say this with some authority. I am the highest ranking American official ever to visit Taiwan. In 1997, I led a delegation, and John Dingell, the senior Democrat, was on the delegation. It was a truly bipartisan group."

The Chinese government is reportedly warning the U.S. about the consequences of Pelosi going on the trip.

"If the U.S. side is bent on going its own way, China will take strong measures to resolutely respond and counteract," a Chinese government official said.

Gingrich recalled the tension surrounding his Taiwan trip because he was previously invited to deliver a speech in Shanghai and Beijing.

"We told them [China] after this had all been announced that we are going to go to Taiwan, and they were furious," he said.

Gingrich said China's ambassador called the individual who was their trip planner and handling national security issues.

"And I remember he happened to be in my office when he took the call," he said. "At one point he says, 'The Chinese Communist Party does not dictate the travel plans of the American Speaker of the House, period.' And he went on to say, 'If it offends you too much, he will skip China and go to Taiwan.'"

Gingrich revealed that the Chinese government then requested that he not fly direct.

"So we ended up going China, Japan, Taiwan, Japan, and they grudgingly accepted," he said. 

Gingrich said there is currently a "woke" Defense Department that's as "timid" as the State Department, which he argued is "really dangerous." Gingrich said the Defense Department was solely focused on defense in 1997.

"I saw some article this morning that the Defense Department is very worried that Speaker Pelosi will somehow cause a problem if she goes to Taiwan," Gingrich said. "Well, my first suggestion is this: If the Department of Defense is not certain that it can protect an American Speaker of the House in a public visit, why would we think they could protect Taiwan? And if you're the Chinese Communists, and you watch us flinch after the total mess in Afghanistan, the total mess in Ukraine, you begin to think this is an administration that's just begging to be bullied.

"And so I commend Nancy; we have enormous disagreements on 98 or 99% of things, but on this one, I think her instinct is right. I hope she sticks to her guns. And the only thing I would suggest is that she make it a bipartisan congressional delegation to show that both parties are committed to the independence of Taiwan." 

Gingrich, who was born in Harrisburg, Pa., also said he is "fascinated" with the U.S. Senate race in Pa.

"John Fetterman, the lieutenant governor, is almost the perfect caricature of what we're going to be running against this fall," he said. "Fetterman took down the American flag in his office ... to put up the marijuana flag and the gay pride flag. Now, that might work at Berkeley. It would work at Yale. But any of you who know Pennsylvania very well know that the idea that the next time a soldier goes into rescue somebody, instead of showing them the American flag patch, they're going to show them the marijuana patch, tells you about as much about wokeness as you need to know."

He predicted that Dr. Mehmet Oz, the GOP candidate, will defeat Fetterman by a "surprising margin" in the end.

"Fetterman has to carry the burden, first of all, of being Fetterman, who's kind of nuts, which in the Democratic Party means he's sort of a centrist," he said. "Second, he has to carry the burden of an enormous murder rate and crime rate in Philadelphia. And third, he has to carry the burden of a very anti-energy policy in western Pennsylvania, which is the fourth largest producer of energy in the United States."