Congressman Keith Ellison said that Newt Gingrich calling for everyone of Muslim background to be questioned, "calculating, pandering, and it's really sad."
Ellison, a U.S. representative from Minnesota and the first Muslim elected to Congress, appeared on MSNBC's "Morning Joe"
to discuss Gingrich, who made the comments in reaction to the attack in France that killed at least 84.
"What frightens me about his comments, is that I think he knows better," said "Morning Joe" cohost Mika Brzezinski.
"He does know better," Ellison replied. "That's the sad thing about Newt Gingrich. He's a very smart man. It's just calculating, pandering, and it's really sad."
Gingrich called for testing of everyone of Muslim background
, and said that whoever believes in the harsh Sharia law should be deported. Gingrich said modern Muslims who have given up Sharia would be allowed to stay in the U.S.
About the truck attack in Nice, France that killed at least 84, Ellison said, "My reaction is pure sympathy and absolute condemnation."
Ellison said it was important to include Muslims in fighting against the terror attackers.
"We have to do it by engaging everybody who hates what they do, including the Muslim world," he said. "We cannot afford to alienate allies and loyal Americans."
Ellison has focused on helping Muslims in the state he represents, as well. CBS Minnesota reported
that Ellison contacted Attorney General Loretta Lynch to investigate a shooting attack against five Somali-American men in Minneapolis.
"This violent incident appears to be a religiously-motivated attack on these Muslim youth," Ellison said.
Gingrich responded to the outcry against his comments, by saying that he was not calling for American citizens to be targeted.
"We are saying that you have to decide to become an American in order to migrate to America," Gingrich said, according to Politico
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