WASHINGTON, Aug. 21 (UPI) -- Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich says he won't take part in a protest against a proposed mosque near the site of the World Trade Center next month.
Gingrich has been a harsh critic of the controversial mosque; however, his office has denied claims by organizers of the Sept. 11 protest that he would be a headliner at their event.
"The confusion is at least partially our fault," Joe DeSantis, a spokesman for Gingrich, told The Hill. "A staff member mistakenly promised a video message, though not an appearance. However, we are not sending a video (either)."
Gingrich, considered a potential Republican presidential candidate in 2012, said in a television appearance this week that he did not believe the contention that a mosque near Ground Zero was aimed at improving relations between Muslims and non-Muslim New Yorkers. He also compared the project to allowing Nazis to "put up a sign next to the Holocaust Museum in Washington."
Gingrich is not the only U.S. political figure to skip the rally, which is being organized by Stop Islamization of America and the Freedom Defense Initiative. The Hill said Saturday that Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., has also said he has no plans to attend despite being on the organizers' roster of invited speakers.