After the driver of a truck in Nice, France, drove into a crowd of people watching fireworks, killing at least 80, Newt Gingrich told Fox News’s Sean Hannity that the time had come to start testing Americans of "Muslim background" for their loyalty to the United States.
"We should frankly test every person here who is of a Muslim background, and if they believe in Sharia, they should be deported," Gingrich said.
He went on to say that even looking at websites that promote terrorism should be a felony and punished with jail time:
Sharia is incompatible with Western civilization. Modern Muslims who have given up Sharia, glad to have them as citizens. Perfectly happy to have them next door. But we need to be fairly relentless about defining who our enemies are. Anybody who goes on a website favoring ISIS, or Al Qaeda, or other terrorist groups, that should be a felony, and they should go to jail.
Beyond the fact that the identity (and religion) of the attacker in Nice has yet to be released, Newt’s statement is blatantly incompatible with the First Amendment — "Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof" — by calling for deporting Muslims, including presumably American citizens of "Muslim background," based solely on their religious beliefs.
It’s also highly unlikely that the Constitution’s protection of civil liberties would allow for making it a felony to "go on a website" that favors al-Qaeda.
But Gingrich seems to be desperately trying to regain ground with Donald Trump amid reports that Indiana Gov. Mike Pence is likely to be Trump's running mate. So he’s now going even further than Trump, whose proposal to ban Muslims from entering the United States was already seen as extreme and unconstitutional, by saying it’s time to kick out Muslims who are already here.