Today on Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace asked former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) about his views on the Pelosi-led delegation to Syria. Gingrich criticized Pelosi, saying, “I think it’s very important not to have two foreign policies, and I think it’s very dangerous for America to do what Speaker Pelosi did.”
Wallace confronted Gingrich with public comments he made as Speaker that clashed with Clinton administration policy before and during his travels abroad to China and Israel in the 1990′s. (Glenn Greenwald first documented those statements HERE.) Gingrich said at the time:
We will defend Taiwan, period. [3/31/97]
I think it’s wrong for the American Secretary of State to become the agent for the Palestinians [3/12/98]
Gingrich responded to the Taiwan comment stating, “What I said in China was U.S. policy.” But Wallace quickly refuted him: “Not according to the Clinton administration.” Gingrich then attempted to defend his statements criticizing Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and said, “I think at the time she was taking steps that were very, very pro-Palestinian.” Watch it:
Throughout the segment, Gingrich followed the White House line, attacking Speaker Pelosi but conveniently failing to mention that at least five Republicans also traveled to Syria last week, including Rep. David Hobson (R-OH), who accompanied Pelosi.
Contrary to Gingrich’s statements criticizing Clinton’s foreign policy, Pelosi’s delegation did not attempt to undermine President Bush. Hobson said, “We reinforced the administration’s positions and at the same time we were trying to understand and maybe getting some voice to some things people wanted to say that maybe they were not comfortable saying to the administration.”
GINGRICH: I think it’s very important not to have two foreign policies and I think it’s very dangerous for America to do what Speaker Pelosi did.
WALLACE: Mr. Speaker, we looked at your record, and let’s put up some of the instances. During a trip to china in 1997, you told leaders there, “We will defend Taiwan, period,” when U.S. policy on defending Taiwan was much vaguer than that. Just before a trip to Israel in 1998, you said, “I think it’s wrong for the American Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, to become the agent for the Palestinians.” Weren’t you more provocative than Speaker Pelosi?
GINGRICH: Look, Speaker Pelosi can be very provacative within the U.S. What I said in China was U.S. policy –
WALLACE: Not accord to the Clinton administration it wasn’t.
GINGRICH: President Clinton had just put U.S. aircraft carriers in the straits of Taiwan. I mean, the American position has always been we do not recognize Taiwan as an independent country. We would protect Taiwan if there was a Chinese — People’s Republic invaded Taiwan. I think it was very important for the Chinese to understand that there was a unified agreement. They were being very aggressive at that time.
WALLACE: And what about saying that Madeleine Albright was an agent for the Palestinians?
GINGRICH: I think at the time she was taking steps that were very, very pro-Palestinian.
WALLACE: But you understand my point it looks like there were two foreign policies?
GINGRICH: The one time I said something that was too strong when I was outside the U.S., I didn’t say anything in the U.S. that’s part of the American political system. One time I said there was something wrong, I said publicly I’d made a mistake, and I pulled back because I do believe that you have to coordinate. And I think that both Sandy Berger and President Clinton would tell you that we talked constantly about foreign policy and tried to work together in a whole range of issues on foreign policy.