US presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich deplores President Barack Obama’s apology for the burning of the Holy Qur’an by American forces in Afghanistan, describing it as "astonishing" and undeserved.
Criticizing US President Obama’s formal apology to Afghan President Hamid Karzai in a campaign address to hundreds of Americans in Spokane, Washington on Thursday, the Republican presidential candidate claimed the US did not owe Afghans an apology for the incident.
Yet Obama “is consistently apologizing to people who do not deserve the apology of the president of the United States period,” said Gingrich.
This is while Afghan President Hamid Karzai has demanded NATO put on trial those behind the burning of Islam’s Holy book.
Obama had sent a letter of apology to his Afghan counterpart Thursday morning, apologizing for the burning of copies of Holy Qur’an and saying that the incident was not intentional.
A few hours after Obama’s expression of apology, an Afghan soldier had reportedly shot two US soldiers dead and wounded others in retaliation for the Qur’an burning at a base in the eastern Nangarhar Province. Gingrich said it was Hamid Karzi who owed the US an apology for the shootings.
Even prior to Gingrich's comments, White House spokesman Jay Carney had sought to counter any criticism of the president's apology.
"It is wholly appropriate, given the sensitivities to this issue, the understandable sensitivities," Carney told reporters, “His (the president’s) primary concern as commander in chief is the safety of the American men and women in Afghanistan, of our military and civilian personnel there. And it was absolutely the right thing to do."
Gingrich, however, continued his criticism of Obama's foreign policy later Thursday, claiming that the president has gone so far at appeasing Muslims “that he is failing in his duty as commander in chief."