- - Thursday, January 26, 2023

I recently did an interview with a smart, experienced Washington journalist.

We covered a lot of ground, including the debt ceiling, balancing the budget, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s first two weeks, and Russia’s attack on Ukraine.

Then we got around to a moment of hard-core politics. As a good liberal, he tried to put me on the defensive about a Republican House freshman who is clearly a liar — and will have no influence in Congress. He will almost certainly be defeated in the next election.

I knew from the tone of the question and the look on the journalist’s face that he wanted me to fall back into a defensive mode and ask more questions about how House Republicans should handle someone who is dishonest.

I remembered a rule I had learned from President Ronald Reagan. When faced with a reporter asking a question you don’t like, simply ignore it and answer the question you wished he or she had asked.

Timid Republicans have often accepted the left’s moral authority to define which lies matter and which ones don’t. It is an appalling trait I have fought throughout my activities as a citizen going back to 1958. (I discuss this in my upcoming book, “March to the Majority,” which I wrote with my longtime adviser Joe Gaylord).

If the news media wants to have a conversation about politicians who lie, House Republicans should be eager to accommodate them — and immediately turn to the amazing examples of Democratic public figures who can’t or won’t tell the truth.

House Republicans should start any discussion of lying with the example of the current occupant of the White House.

As a candidate and president, Joe Biden has survived a lifetime of lying. In 1987, in a Democratic presidential debate, he claimed to be a descendant of coal miners in northeast Pennsylvania. It turned out not only to be a lie but to have been plagiarized from a brilliant, emotional speech by Neil Kinnock, then a member of the British House of Lords, about his childhood in Wales. 

Mark Thiessen captured the depths of Biden’s mendacity in a column on Jan. 4, 2023, Washington Post titled “Santos Must Have Learned From Biden How to Make Up Details About His Past.”

Mr. Thiessen points out that Mr. Biden lied about being nobly arrested while trying to visit an imprisoned Nelson Mandela in South Africa. Mr. Biden claimed he thanked Mr. Mandela when the anti-apartheid leader later visited Washington. It was all baloney. 

Mr. Thiessen went on to note that Mr. Biden had received a “bottomless Pinocchio” from the Post for absurd lies about meeting with former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping (10 years after Deng died) and traveling with Chinese leader Xi Jinping. Both stories were false.

On a more practical level, Mr. Biden has said that the current inflation mess was temporary, the border is secure, that there are no supply chain issues, and his out-of-control spending plan would strengthen the dollar.

And Mr. Biden isn’t the only one.

Recall the scandal of Hillary Clinton’s deleting 33,000 emails and having a staffer literally take a hammer to destroy computer hard drives. Had she been a Republican, the media would have declared her disqualified from public service.

Even in the House, the record for repetitive lying is held by the former chair of the House Intelligence Committee. Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff repeatedly used the prestige of his committee assignment — and the presumption that, as chairman, he had inside information — to lie repeatedly about former President Donald Trump. Mr. Schiff’s attacks on Mr. Trump over the “Russian hoax” is a case study of partisanship and dishonesty overcoming patriotism.

We now know beyond any reasonable doubt that the entire effort to tie the Trump candidacy to the Russians was a lie. It was a lie helped by corrupt elements of the FBI. It was a lie compounded by corrupt elements of the intelligence community. When 51 Intelligence community leaders signed a joint letter just before the 2020 election claiming the Hunter Biden laptop scandal was a hoax, they were also lying to the American people for partisan purposes and dishonoring their careers in intelligence. Shouldn’t they all be reprimanded for undermining the faith of the American people in their intelligence institutions?

More important than the lies: What is hidden behind them?

At a minimum, $51 million has been funneled into the University of Pennsylvania Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement by Chinese communists to benefit the president and his allies (consider that our current secretary of state, Antony Blinken, used to run the place). Further, we know nothing about the money that has funded the Biden Institute at the University of Delaware (which received 1,850-plus boxes of documents from Mr. Biden). 
Mr. Biden has lied consistently about his knowledge of his son’s business dealings — when he’s been demonstrably involved. In fact, the family in the White House has made tons of money off Ukrainian, Russian, and Chinese Communist connections. This is a real problem.

Republicans should take a simple position: Lying is bad. There will be no effectiveness in the House for a freshman who is clearly lacking in honesty. On the other hand, there should be real efforts to discover the truth about Mr. Biden and his family’s financial activities with foreign dictatorships.

The freshman is a side distraction and will be allowed to do no harm.

The president is an active threat to the security of the United States and a stain on the honor of the highest government office in America.

That is the difference between the two parties.

• For more commentary from Newt Gingrich, visit Gingrich360.com.

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