Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich urged House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to remove the fencing around the U.S. Capitol, calling the security measure an “eyesore” and an “embarrassment for the Unites States around the world.”
“There is no excuse for razor wire to be blocking the American people from our Capitol. It is the People’s House. The fencing is more than an eyesore—it is an insult,” Gingrich wrote in an op-ed published by Fox News, suggesting further that the fence is part of a campaign to vilify conservatives.
“American conservatives, according to the Left, are so dangerous we must keep the National Guard in our nation’s capital and surround the Capitol Building with razor wire and fencing—never mind that the group of thugs who attacked the Capitol in January in no way represent the 74 million people who voted Republican in 2020,” he wrote.
The fencing was erected amid security concerns following the Jan. 6 Capitol breach, fueled by fears of a repeat of that day’s violence at President Joe Biden’s Jan. 20 inauguration.
Inauguration Day came and went, yet the fence remained, prompting more than 40 Republicans to sign onto a letter two weeks ago calling on Pelosi to remove it.
“We write with concerns about the security measures and enhanced fencing around the U.S. Capitol even though high profile events like the inauguration are over,” they wrote. “In particular, we are concerned with recent reports that the fencing surrounding the Capitol may become permanent.”
“It’s time for healing and it’s time for the removal of the fencing so the nation may move forward,” they said in the letter.
Gingrich picked up on the theme of unity, praising D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton for introducing the “No Fencing at the United States Capitol Complex Act,” a bill that would prohibit the installation of permanent fencing at the Capitol complex.
“This is an opportunity for a genuinely bipartisan step away from hysteria and toward sanity,” Gingrich wrote, encouraging people to urge their congressional representatives to back the bill.
“I hope every American will call your House and Senate members today and urge them to cosponsor the “No Fencing at the United States Capitol Complex Act,” he wrote.
“Also, send a note to Delegate Holmes Norton congratulating and thanking her for her leadership and courage,” he added.
The acting Capitol Police chief has said “vast improvements” are needed to improve the physical security of the Capitol complex and that she would recommend permanent fencing to help better secure Congress.
“I can unequivocally say that vast improvements to the physical security infrastructure must be made to include permanent fencing, and the availability of ready, back-up forces in close proximity to the Capitol,” the acting chief, Yogananda Pittman, said in a statement last month.
The Senate is scheduled to hold its first hearings next week to examine the Jan. 6 Capitol breach, calling in the former chief of Capitol Police and the former heads of security for the House and Senate, all three of whom resigned in the wake of the incident.