(USA Features) Newt Gingrich lamented in a Monday column that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., represents the “greatest threat” to the Constitution in his lifetime after she pulled a series of controversial and unprecedented moves in recent weeks.
“As a 20-year member of Congress and four-year Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, let me speak bluntly and directly,” Gingrich, who was a GOP lawmaker from Georgia, began.
“Speaker Nancy Pelosi is the greatest threat to constitutional liberty in our lifetime,” he added in his column at Fox News.
Gingrich knocked the California Democrat for iron-fisted rule over the House that he said was more akin to dictators like the Castro brothers in Cuba or Chinese President Xi Jinping before going on to list a number of recent examples.
“Pelosi ordered and kept the fencing around the U.S. Capitol for months – even when members of her own party were calling for it to come down,” he wrote.
“She stripped a duly elected Republican of all her committee assignments,” he noted further, citing freshman Rep. Majorie Taylor Greene, who was removed from committees over controversial tweets.
“In recent weeks, she has dictated to the minority party what members it can have on a bipartisan commission,” Gingrich continued, a reference to Pelosi’s refusal to seat two Republicans, Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio and Jim Banks of Indiana, nominated to select committee investigating the prelude to the Jan. 6 riot — a decision that many have called unprecedented.
“Now, she is threatening to have members of Congress and their staffs arrested if they do not follow the mask mandate which exists by her own decree,” he continued.
Gingrich, who is a historian, went on to note that the only time he recalls “a Speaker ordering members arrested” was when “30 members broke into a brawl on the House Floor over the Kansas Territory’s pro-slavery Lecompton Constitution in 1859.”
“If her power, arrogance, and destructiveness is allowed to continue growing, she will shatter the precedents of the U.S. House, undermine hundreds of years of common legislative precedent going back to the Magna Carta of 1215, and the destroy the established principle that those who write laws are still subordinate to them,” the former GOP speaker, who took the gavel following the 1994 midterm elections, wrote.
Gingrich then noted that Pelosi has only a slim 10-member majority, but that members of her own party lack “the guts to stand up for the U.S. Constitution, the fabric of American history, and their own rights to serve as freely elected, independent members of the Congress.”
He went on to write that, as a junior GOP member of Congress, he served under three Democratic speakers and he can recall twp occasions where there were “clear violations of the principles of representative self-government.”
One, he said, was when “the Democrats stole the 9th District of Indiana after the 1984 election in a bitterly contested recount.”
As for the second, “Speaker Jim Wright used an illegal parliamentary maneuver to create two legislative days in one day.”
But on both of those occasions, Gingrich continued, “the Republican reaction was so intense and outspoken – with even the mildest Republicans rebelling – that the Democrats backed off and returned to a policy of trying to work together.”
He went on to speculate that there are about 100 Democratic congressional districts where voters would make it “politically expensive” on their representatives if they “understood what was happening and why it mattered.”
“I am enraged at this raw use of power to destroy the precedents and patterns which have made the U.S. House of Representatives a remarkable bulwark of freedom and a symbol for people around the world,” he continued.
Gingrich went on to recall a time when, as House GOP whip, he had the opportunity to escort journalists from the then-Soviet Union to the House where he explained how the chamber functioned. He said he recalled a Lithuanian journalist who was allowed to sit in the Speaker’s chair “shaking” at the opportunity to sit in the center of freedom.
“Every member of the House is elected by the people of his or her district. They come to Washington as equals. Every member has one vote. Each member has a constitutionally protected right to speak on the floor. Each member deserves respect – for his- or herself and even more for the 700,000-plus Americans he or she represents,” Gingrich wrote.
“The Republicans who are collaborating with Pelosi should be ashamed of themselves. She is using them to sustain her dictatorship, and they are making it harder for House Republicans to effectively oppose her.”
He added: “Pelosi has had a lot of power for a long time, and it clearly has destroyed her sense of balance, moderation, and following the rules. There should be a concerted national campaign looking for ten courageous Democrats willing to stand up to the Pelosi dictatorship and defend freedom in America.”