Former House speaker Newt Gingrich believes Ronald Reagan would have felt that boycotting incoming President Donald Trump's inauguration would be like abandoning America.
As for himself, Gingrich thinks Democrats who are planning to stay away from the inauguration are "making themselves look small and silly."
"[Reagan would have said] that they are childish and silly," Gingrich told Fox News' "Fox and Friends" program. "It's not about Republicans and Democrats. It's about America. Why would you abandon America?"
As of Thursday morning, almost 70 Democratic members of the House of Representatives had said they are staying away from Friday's inaugural events, Fox News reported, but no senators have announced that they won't attend.
Many of those people refusing to go say they are standing in solidarity with Rep. John Lewis, who Trump accused of being "all talk" when the Georgia Democrat and civil rights icon told a television interviewer he did not accept the legitimacy of Trump's White House win.
Gingrich said those avoiding the inauguration are "making themselves look small and silly."
"Their left loves them," Gingrich said. "As we used to learn the hard way, you can have your partisans love you for a long time and stay in the minority."
Gingrich said he and his wife, Callista, are looking forward to the inauguration, and he considers it a part of America's history.
"You are at a moment when the nation is transferring power peacefully, unlike no other country has done this for as long as we have," said Gingrich. "You have all of the sense of the national establishment coming together... and you are in a situation where there is always optimism. It doesn't matter which team wins, we are a naturally optimistic country."
He said he went to both of President Barack Obama's inaugurations, as well as to President Bill Clinton's, and felt positive for the future. The one ceremony that stands out for Gingrich, though, was President Ronald Reagan's in 1980.
"The clouds parted, and the sun came out," said Gingrich. "We began to hear whispering amongst ourselves that the hostages had left Iranian airspace. The Gipper had made the difference. The speech was tremendous. I talked to somebody last night who had gone back and read the first inaugural and said Reagan's 1980 speech was just unbelievable."
Gingrich said he's looking forward to Trump's speech, as "he has a very strong sense of who he is and what his mission in history is. And he also has, frankly, a better sense of how to talk with the American people than any Republicans since Reagan."
Trump is writing his much of his own speech, along with adviser Stephen Miller, who has written most of Trump's major addresses during the election. Gingrich said the address will be about America, not Trump himself.
"He understands this is his first really big moment in history to define who he is in the context of America," said Gingrich.
Meanwhile, Trump plans to enact numerous executive orders, and Gingrich said there are "a lot of things he could do tomorrow to begin to shift the whole system."
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