Gingrich, who was at the time vying for Donald Trump's running-mate slot, said Thursday on Sean Hannity's Fox News Channel program that 'we should frankly test every person here who is of a Muslim background, and if they believe in Sharia, they should be deported.'
Barack Obama used Thursday's deadly terror attack in southern France as a springboard to push back, without naming Gingrich, who lost the Republican vice-presidential nod to Indiana Gov. Mike Pence a few hours earlier.
'In the wake of last night's attacks, we've heard more suggestions that all Muslims in America be targeted, tested for their beliefs, some deported or jailed,' Obama grimaced. 'And the very suggestion is repugnant, and an affront to everything we stand for as Americans.'
'We cannot give in to fear, or turn on each other, or sacrifice our way of life. We cannot let ourselves to be divided by religion, because that's exactly what the terrorists want. We should never do their work for them.'