Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich joined the ranks of other Republicans who have voiced their support for Steve Scalise, the No. 3 House GOP leader, over the controversy surrounding his speech 12 years ago to a white supremacist group.
Gingrich, who was on “Face the Nation” Sunday morning, backed the Louisiana Republican, bringing up President Barack Obama’s association with Rev. Jeremiah Wright when asked if the Scalise issue will hurt Republicans.
“The fact is, you have a president who for years went to a church whose pastor said stunningly hateful things about America,” Gingrich told host Bob Schieffer. “The president explained he didn’t hear any of them and we all gave him a pass.”
RELATED: GOP lawmakers back Scalise in supremacist flap
Gingrich added that Obama made “a great speech in Philadelphia as a candidate and we said ‘OK, we got it.”
He also referenced former Sen. Robert Byrd and former Sen. Hugo Black, both Democrats and former members of the Ku Klux Klan.
“But they were Democrats, so being in the Klan was OK,” Gingrich said.
Byrd served in the Senate from 1959 to 2010, while Black served from 1927 to 1937.
“For a 12-year-old speech to be blown up into a national story, I think, is frankly one more example of a one-sided view of reality,” he said.