- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 18, 2014

Former Majority Leader Tom DeLay and former Speaker Newt Gingrich, leaders of the 1994 Republican-led revolution that swept through Congress, agree that America needs to fight radical Islamism — but neither were enthusiastic about the idea of President Obama leading the charge.

Their comments came in context of answering a videotaped question from The Washington Times: Do you support the House bill that passed that arms and trains Syrian rebels to fight Islamic State terrorists?

Mr. Gingrich, who represented Georgia from 1979 to 1999, called the vote a “first step toward confronting evil,” in the video. But more action will be needed, he went on.

“I think we have no choice except to ultimately defeat radical Islamism. I think it is totally inadequate,” he said of the House vote. “But I think it is the first step, in the right direction. There will be many more steps. It doesn’t mean it has to be American forces on the ground. We need a new strategy for combat forces where we basically pay for other people, not ourselves. But we can get there. This was a step in that direction,” Mr. Gingrich said.

Mr. DeLay, meanwhile, said in a separate interview that his support for the House vote — which authorizes funding to train and arm Syrian rebels to fight the Islamic State — is tempered by his distrust of the president.

“I’m sort of torn between understanding that we’re in a war on terror, that there’s all kinds of groups, including ISIS, that we have to go after, and destroy, but at the same time I don’t trust this president to do the right thing. So I’m hoping that saner heads will prevail and I was hoping for a resolution that was an expression of the American people — what they want to see done — contrary to what the president seems not to be doing.”

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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