Following last month’s riot on Capitol Hill, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has pushed for heightened security measures across the entire Capitol complex, including high fences topped with razor wire and the presence of National Guard troops.
For his part, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) believes the added safety steps are not only unnecessary, but constitute an “insult” to the American people.
“Tear down this fence”
Gingrich made his argument during a recent appearance on Fox News Channel’s Hannity.
He claimed that Pelosi’s moves threaten to transform a free nation into little more than a “police state,” telling host Sean Hannity on Tuesday that security measures are not needed given the absence of credible threats of a clear and present threat against the Capitol building.
The on-air remarks were largely a reiteration of an op-ed Gingrich penned a few days earlier, which took Pelosi to task for her efforts over the past two months.
Echoing the immortal words of former President Ronald Reagan in reference to the Berlin Wall, Gingrich called on Pelosi to “tear down this fence around the U.S. Capitol.”
Furthermore, he pointed out that Eleanor Norton Holmes, a Democratic D.C. delegate, introduce a bill calling for the removal of the fencing. U.S. Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), who serves as his party’s ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee, insisted that there was not “any credible information whatsoever” regarding continuing threats against the Capitol.
“An insult to every American”
Gingrich restated that position in his conversation with Hannity, declaring: “There is no known threat to the U.S. Capitol. There is no indication anywhere that there is some organized mob preparing to storm Washington.”
Calling the extensive security measures “a function of Nancy Pelosi’s paranoia,” the former House speaker asserted that “the left wants America to think that their government has to protect them from some unknown, strange group.”
When he served in the position now held by Pelosi, Gingrich said that he “modernized” the Capitol police force in a professional manner that did not infringe on the right of Americans interested in visiting the seat of the legislative branch.
“I think that with reasonable leadership, they can protect the Capitol without all of these fences, without all of this barbed — razor wire,” he said. “I think it is an insult to every American to be told that their politicians are so important that they are going to hide behind a wall while the rest of us, apparently, are in danger.”
On the other hand, U.S. Capitol Police acting Chief Yogananda Pittman advised on Thursday: “We know that members of the militia groups that were present on January 6th have stated their desires that they want to blow up the Capitol and kill as many members as possible with a direct nexus to the State of the Union, which we know that date has not been identified.”