Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich—who has peddled wild election fraud conspiracies for weeks— faced widespread mockery on Thursday when he suddenly railed against conspiratorial pro-Trump lawyers Lin Wood and Sidney Powell as “totally destructive.”
In an off-the-rails Georgia rally on Wednesday, Wood repeatedly called on Republican Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp to call a special legislative session to investigate President Donald Trump’s election loss in the state, calling on Kemp to be “locked up” if he does not do so. At the same time, he and Powell also urged voters not to vote for Republicans Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue in the Senate runoffs if they also don’t back his demands.
“They have not earned your vote,” Wood said, calling for a boycott. “Don’t you give it to them. Why would you go back and vote in another rigged election, for god’s sake! Fix it! You gotta fix it!”
While many conservative politicians and right-wing media figures had recently held out hope that Wood and Powell’s longshot lawsuits could overturn President-elect Joe Biden’s election victory, the Trumpist lawyers’ call to Republicans to sit out the pivotal Senate races was a bridge too far. The Trump campaign now seeks to distance itself from Wood by painting him as a Democratic operative working against the president.
Gingrich quickly joined Team Trump’s pile on and attempted to put the genie back in the bottle that he helped open just weeks ago.
“Lin Wood and Sidney Powell are totally destructive,” he blared on Twitter. “Every Georgia conservative who cares about America MUST vote in the runoff. Their dont vote strategy will cripple America.”
The ex-House speaker, however, didn’t mention how he helped embolden the “Stop the Steal” movement he is now actively trying to distance himself from—now that its adherents pose a threat to Republican control of the Senate.
Just days after the election, when it was apparent that Biden was going to secure a decisive electoral victory, the current Fox News contributor called on Attorney General Bill Barr to send in federal agents to arrest election workers while saying election results in Pennsylvania should be tossed.
Days later, he said Trump’s loss was due to a “corrupt, stolen election,” blaming it on a “left-wing power grab financed by people like George Soros, deeply laid in at the local level.” Gingrich invoking the liberal philanthropist and longtime right-wing bogeyman in a “rigged” election scheme coincided with Powell’s bonkers claim that Soros was involved in an international conspiracy to use Dominion voting software to steal millions of votes from Trump.
In recent weeks, Gingrich has further upped his heated rhetoric about his belief that the election, especially in Georgia, was fraudulent and state-level Republicans were in on it. On Nov. 18, he called on Trump supporters to “physically” go to the Georgia governor’s mansion to prevent the state from certifying the election results. And earlier this week, he claimed Kemp and Georgia Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger—who has repeatedly debunked Trump’s election fraud lies—were “subsidiaries of Stacey Abrams” and are “doing things that are outrageous and illegal.”
Following Gingrich’s tweet, journalists and media figures ridiculed the former speaker for trying to disown the “Frankenstein’s monster” that he helped create. Many joked that Hugo Chávez much have gotten to Gingrich, referencing Powell’s outrageous claim that the long-dead Venezuelan dictator was involved in the fantastical plot to use corrupt software to flip Trump votes to Biden.
“Don’t listen to Newt! Chavez is stealing your votes,” national-security attorney Bradley Moss tweeted on Thursday morning.