The former Speaker of the House of Representatives was speaking at a rally in Florida yesterday when he was asked about what he would do as president about the Occupy Wall Street movment.
After saying some complimentary things–including that he shared the protesters’ anger at the bank bailouts, Mr. Gingrich said, “There is a strain of hostile people on the left organized across the country who believe in trashing things, believe in destroying things. Who do they think paid for the park they are sleeping in? Who do they thing paid for the bathroom they want to use? Who do they think paid for the food they’re eating?”
Mr. Gingrich went to paint the 99 percenters as spoiled and violent.
“America wasn’t created by people who woke up every morning saying, ‘You owe me,'” he said. “I think we ought to confront them head on. The last point I’d make: Every city government has an absolute obligation to enforce the rule of law and to protect private property and, frankly, they ought to be filming these people, and every person who engages in violence ought be given a very long vacation from the streets in order to contemplate why in the future, they’re not going to engage in violence against fellow Americans. But none of them should be tolerated if they engage in violence against persons or property.”
Towards the end of his remarks however the 99 percenters had their own say.
A few members of the crowd began “mic-checking” Mr. Gingrich, and one yelled something about “the 99 percent.”
“Hold on,” Mr. Gingrich replied. “I want to answer you very directly. There is no such thing in America as 99 percent! We are 100 percent Americans! We are all part of America!”