Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) blasted President Barack Obama's response to the Oregon shooting, accusing him of callousness because some of the victims were Christian.
"You know, he could have said something about the dangers of religious intolerance and the fact that this particular shooter singled out Christians," Gingrich charged on Laura Ingraham's radio show Friday, referring to Obama's remarks the evening before. "Now why is the president so stunningly insensitive as long as it's only Christians being killed? Can you imagine if somebody had singled out, say, Muslims, how deeply the president would have been concerned?"
"Or gay people," Ingraham chimed in.
Ten people, including the gunman, have died from Thursday's massacre at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon. Law enforcement officials have not named the suspected shooter, but he has widely been identified as Chris Harper Mercer, a 26-year-old who CNN said was enrolled in the class where the fatal shootings took place.
The Washington Post reported that officials are still trying to figure out what drove Mercer to kill, but witnesses said he "seemed to seek specific revenge against Christians, and police examined Web posts that hinted of wider antipathy toward organized faith." The religious affiliations of all the victims are not yet clear.
Obama is himself Christian. And he certainly hasn't shied away from condemning shootings that targeted communities of faith, including Christians. After a gunman killed nine people in June at the historic black Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, Obama praised the religious congregation that came under fire.
"Their Christian faith compelled them to reach out not just to members of their congregation, or to members of their own communities, but to all in need. They opened their doors to strangers who might enter a church in search of healing or redemption," he said.
Obama has repeatedly pressed Congress to take action on gun control, saying mass shootings are too common in America and something needs to be done. He did so again Thursday. From Obama's remarks:
But as I said just a few months ago, and I said a few months before that, and I said each time we see one of these mass shootings, our thoughts and prayers are not enough. It’s not enough. It does not capture the heartache and grief and anger that we should feel. And it does nothing to prevent this carnage from being inflicted someplace else in America -- next week, or a couple of months from now. ...
We spend over a trillion dollars, and pass countless laws, and devote entire agencies to preventing terrorist attacks on our soil, and rightfully so. And yet, we have a Congress that explicitly blocks us from even collecting data on how we could potentially reduce gun deaths. How can that be? This is a political choice that we make to allow this to happen every few months in America. We collectively are answerable to those families who lose their loved ones because of our inaction.
Gingrich said Obama was being hypocritical in his remarks, saying, "It's also ironic that in the week when Kevin McCarthy is getting beaten up for having politicized a comment, the president up and says, 'Hey, I'm gonna politicize it.'"
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) recently cheered the Select Committee on Benghazi for hurting the poll numbers of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Members of McCarthy's own party criticized his remarks, since the GOP has long insisted it is not using taxpayer money simply to attack Clinton.
This article has been updated to note that the gunman was enrolled in the class where the fatal shootings took place.
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