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Newt Gingrich: Obama's Trayvon Martin Statement 'Disgraceful'

Posted: 03/23/2012 9:54 pm

Gingrich Trayvon Martin
Republican presidential candidate, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich speaks during the Gulf Coast Energy Summit at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum on March 12, 2012 in Biloxi, Mississippi. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

Republican hopeful Newt Gingrich slammed Barack Obama on Friday, saying the president's remarks about the fatal February shooting of Trayvon Martin were "disgraceful."

President Barack Obama addressed Martin's death during a Rose Garden appearance earlier Friday, framing the tragedy in personal terms by saying, "If I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon." Gingrich responded to Obama's remarks during a "Hannity Radio" interview:

What the president said, in a sense, is disgraceful. It’s not a question of who that young man looked like. Any young American of any ethnic background should be safe, period. We should all be horrified no matter what the ethnic background.

Is the president suggesting that if it had been a white who had been shot, that would be OK because it didn’t look like him. That’s just nonsense dividing this country up. It is a tragedy this young man was shot. It would have been a tragedy if he had been Puerto Rican or Cuban or if he had been white or if he had been Asian American of if he’d been a Native American. At some point, we ought to talk about being Americans. When things go wrong to an American, it is sad for all Americans. Trying to turn it into a racial issue is fundamentally wrong. I really find it appalling.

Gingrich's comments came amid boiling public outrage over the death of Martin -- an unarmed, 17-year-old African American shot by a volunteer neighborhood watchman. The former House speaker commented on the shooting Thursday during an interview with CNN's Piers Morgan, calling it a "tragedy."

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Filed by Peter Finocchiaro  |