The White House on Friday blasted Newt Gingrich for his call to “test” American Muslims and deport those who follow shariah law.
“Observations like that, or proposals like that or rhetoric like that are un-American,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said.
Earnest urged Gingrich to “consult his copy of the pocket Constitution.”
“Our nation was founded on the principle that people can choose to worship as they please without harassment from the government,” he said.
Gingrich earned widespread criticism for his call for extreme measures against U.S. Muslims in response to Thursday night’s terror attack in Nice, France, which left 84 dead and more than 200 injured.
“We should ... test every person here who is of a Muslim background, and if they believe in shariah, they should be deported,” he said during an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity.
Earnest said in the wake of attacks, like the one in Nice, that Americans turning against one another is “exactly what the terrorists want us to do.”
When he made his comments Thursday night, the former Speaker was still thought to be under consideration to become presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald TrumpDonald TrumpKinzinger says Trump 'winning' because so many Republicans 'have remained silent' Our remote warfare counterterrorism strategy is more risk than reward Far-right rally draws small crowd, large police presence at Capitol MORE’s running mate.
His proposal went even further than Trump’s call for a temporary ban on Muslim immigration to the U.S.
Trump on Friday morning formally announced that Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, and not Gingrich, would be his vice presidential pick.