Newt Gingrich launched a now-infamous tirade against moderator Juan Williams during Monday night’s GOP debate after Williams dared to ask him if he could understand why some African-Americans were offended by Gingrich’s obsession with food stamps and child labor. “No, I don’t see that,” Gingrich sneered back.
Williams later insisted he wasn’t offended by Gingrich’s pointed defense, but did say his food stamps rhetoric is “very racial and…unless I missed it, black people haven’t been out there demanding food stamps, or marching for food stamps.” Today, during a campaign stop in South Carolina, Gingrich recalled his exchange with Williams and used the same kind of suggestive language that Williams had objected to — this time directed at Williams himself:
GINGRICH: I had a very interesting dialogue Monday night in Myrtle Beach with Juan Williams about the idea of work, which seemed to Juan Williams to be a strange, distant concept.
Many pundits have seen racial undertones in Gingrich’s belittling of Williams during the debate. “That’s the way I like to spend my Martin Luther King, Jr. Day: watching Newt Gingrich sneer at Juan Williams, a black man, for having the temerity to ask him” a tough question, New York Times columnist Charles Blow wrote.
Gingrich’s equally insulting assessment of the debate exchange likely won’t help.