- (Photo: REUTERS/Tami Chappell)
Newt Gingrich has suggested that President Obama should apologize for a racially-charged joke made by actor Robert De Niro on Monday night during a political fundraising event.
"Callista Gingrich. Karen Santorum. Ann Romney. Now do you really think our country is ready for a white First Lady?" De Niro asked stunned audience members while hosting a benefit in New York City for President Obama's reelection campaign.
Although the actor has apologized for making the off color statement, a number of critics are outraged, including Republican presidential hopeful, Newt Gingrich.
"It is exactly wrong, it divides the country," a heated Gingrich said during a recent speech at Straw's Eat Shop Too. "If people on the left want to talk about radio talk show hosts, then everybody in the country ought to hold the president accountable when somebody at his event says something as utterly, totally unacceptable as Robert De Niro said last night, and I call on the president to apologize for him."
The White House has released a statement condemning De Niro's remarks, but Gingrich insists that Obama should still accept partial responsibility for the incident, according to MSNBC.
"I have a personal preference, obviously, for Callista to be the First Lady. But, I tell you, I would be very proud and very honored to have Ann Romney as the first lady or Karen Santorum as the first lady. I think that just what De Niro said is just beyond the pale and he should be ashamed of himself," Gingrich said.
In a recent statement to E! News, De Niro accepted full responsibility for the joke, which was made before an A-list audience, including singer Beyonce Knowles and "The View" co-host Whoopi Goldberg.
"My remarks, although spoken with satirical jest, were not meant to offend or embarrass anyone, especially the First Lady," De Niro wrote.