Name Calling

Newt Gingrich and Piers Morgan’s War on Madonna

After Madonna’s remark at the Washington Women’s March that she’d like to blow up the White House, condemnation and insults soon rained down on her.

01.24.17 12:10 AM ET

The British TV presenter and exhaustingly dedicated Trump blowhard Piers Morgan was seemingly desperate for attention during the Women’s March on Washington Saturday, firing off a series of contemptuous tweets.

How pathetic that participants believed marching around in pink pussy hats was an effective way of challenging the Trump administration! Far as he could tell, there was little talk of women’s rights during the pre-march rally, just bitterness that Trump beat Clinton. He made a weak joke about planning a “Men’s March,” then squealed with delight when some took him literally.

Finally, after a series of mostly anodyne speeches from celebrities and activists, Madonna gave Morgan fodder for a heaving Daily Mail column: in the midst of her energy-sapped call for “true solidarity,” she admitted she was “angry” and had “thought an awful lot about bombing the White House, but I know this won’t change anything.”

The ‘Madonna’ that was the master generator of cultural controversy in the 1990s was suddenly back.

It was a bomb threat! She’d ruined the Women’s March, which purported to be about love and unity, yet here was Madonna fantasizing about violence.

Her comment reinforced Morgan’s belief that the entire march was a hypocritical exercise because it clearly excluded men (never mind the thousands of male marchers who turned out), and that women like Madonna gave feminists a bad name. Morgan should know: he self-identifies as a feminist and believes “passionately in gender equality,” he wrote.

Kellyanne Conway has suggested that the FBI would investigate Madonna’s remarks, but Morgan knows the singer “will get away with it. She always does.”

To be sure, if some conservative star said they’d thought about bombing the White House during a rally responding to Barack Obama’s presidential inauguration, liberals would likely denounce the remark as violent and grounds for an investigation by law enforcement.

Reince Priebus deployed this argument on Fox News Sunday.

And Morgan has a point that if some non-celebrity joked about bombing the White House in public, or bombing a plane, they’d be taken seriously.

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But it’s worth noting that Madonna ended her speech on a warm-and-fuzzy note (“I choose love!” she said, then led the audience in a call-and-answer “We choose love!” chant). She has since clarified that she was speaking “in metaphor,” and that her drily-delivered comment about bombing President Trump’s home was a one of “two ways of looking at things—one was to be hopeful, and one was to feel anger and outrage, which I have personally felt.”

Two days later, conservatives are still fulminating about the comment.

Appearing on Fox & Friends Monday morning, former speaker of the house Newt Gingrich warned of a radical and violent left-wing uprising.

Madonna’s remark made her “parallel to the young fascists who ran around town breaking windows, all of whom should be given a maximum sentence,” Gingrich said of the 200 idiotic, self-proclaimed “antifascist” rioters who set fire to a trashcan, a newspaper stand, and a limousine on Inauguration Day.

Gingrich’s friends couldn’t leave their hotel because “demonstrators had broken through the police line and were bottling up,” he said on the network, later adding that Madonna should be locked away too. “You have an emerging left-wing fascism. [Madonna’s] part of it. We have to prepare to protect ourselves.” (Gingrich did not respond to The Daily Beast’s request for comment.)

If they’re going to make the case that the Women’s March was a display of mass liberal hysteria, those like Gingrich and Morgan would do better to avoid being hysterical themselves.

In fact, it seemed more like Madonna had given Trump supporters the ideal club to bash the marchers, and what they were marching for, with.

The popularity and spirit of the marches all around the world far outsized the celebrations around Trump’s inauguration—therefore they had to be smeared somehow.

Morgan laughs at those who take his “Men’s March” joke literally, then takes Madonna’s bomb-the-white-house comment all too seriously (“Love was Trumped by hate and bomb threats,” he writes), even as he tacitly acknowledged that Madonna wasn’t being literal.

Gingrich, meanwhile, pounced on Madonna and a relatively small group of inauguration rioters as proof of an alleged rise of left-wing fascism, which is absurd, insulting, and laughable.

Madonna has been trying to return to cultural relevance for years now. Who would have guessed that Piers Morgan and Newt Gingrich would help her get there?