While on Fox News on June 16, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich compared the FBI’s investigation into Russia’s possible interference into the 2016 presidential race to “an Indian hunting party.”
The Republican and former presidential candidate said it’s like “watching an old-fashioned Western movie.” He then likened the ongoing investigation to Natives on the hunt for scalps.
“This is an Indian hunting party,” Gingrich said, according to The Hill. “They’re out looking for a couple scalps, and they’re not going to go home until they get some.”
Twitter soon erupted with criticisms of Gingrich, with users calling his analogy “racist.”
“Naturally, he’d use a completely racist comparison,” one user tweeted. “Our country going WAY backwards!”
“What a lovely racist metaphor you’ve chosen there, Newt. Tone-deaf as usual,” tweeted user Dave Baumann.
In early 2015, Indian Country Media Network found an article published in 1885 by the Atchison Daily Champion in Atchison, Kansas, that had reported on an Indian extermination effort in New Mexico. White “pioneers” were promised $250 for every “redskin scalp” taken from Natives, the report reads.
“It is believed that several New Mexican cities and counties will adopt this plan of exterminating the savages,” the article continued.
Gingrich’s comparison also sparked discussions on social media concerning the name of the Washington NFL team, which is defined on Dictionary.com as “a contemptuous term used to refer to a North American Indian.”
“Speaking of which, I’ve noticed that the media have completely dropped the matter of the Washington, DC football team’s offensive name,” tweeted Aviel Roshwald, professor of history at Georgetown University.
At the time of the publication of this story, Gingrich has not responded to the accusations that his comparison is racist toward Natives.
President Donald Trump has voiced his frustrations over the Russian investigation and feels he is the victim of a conspiracy, the Associated Press reported. Earlier this month, Russian President Vladimir Putin denied having interfered with the U.S. presidential election. “It wouldn’t make sense for us to interfere,” he told NBC News’ Megyn Kelly.