Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich today called on current speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., to resign, saying her accusation that the CIA lied to her threatens national security.
"She really disqualified herself to be the speaker," Gingrich said on "Good Morning America" today. "She has a unique responsibility for national security. ... She made this allegation that smears everyone who's trying to defend her."
Leaving her in her place would be "very dangerous for the country," Gingrich added.
Last Thursday Pelosi denied that she knew the CIA employed waterboarding, a harsh interrogation technique that simulates drowning. The speaker said the CIA "misinformed" her when they briefed her in September 2002, the month after Guantanamo Bay detainee Abu Zubaydah was subjected to waterboarding.
Gingrich said on "GMA" that Pelosi is the one who misinformed the American people.
"What she said Thursday was a stunning dishonest statement about a major American institution that has a key role in our survival," he said. "I think the Democrats should get a new speaker."
In his weekly newsletter to supporters published in the conservative publication Human Events, the prominent GOP figure said Democrats "owe it to their country" to replace Pelosi as the speaker.
"The person who is No. 2 in line to be commander in chief can't have contempt for the men and women who protect our nation. America can't afford it," Gingrich wrote.
Pelosi's office called Gingrich's suggestion "ludicrous" and noted that no Democrats are calling for Pelosi to be ousted.
But Gingrich is just one in the growing chorus of Republicans lashing out at Pelosi.
The Republican National Committee has even produced a video ridiculing the press conference where Pelosi accused the CIA of lying. Set to the James Bond theme music, the video picks on several of Pelosi's statements and ends with the line "Lack of leadership. Democrats galore."
Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., also echoed Gingrich's statements.
"For the person second in line to be president of the United States to be making this type of charge is really shameful, and to me, crosses any boundary I know," he said.
Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, also joined the bandwagon, saying Pelosi is "actively undermining our national security," and demanded that she provide proof that she was misled.
House minority leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, said Pelosi should either produce evidence that the CIA was indeed lying, or apologize.
"She owes our intelligence community an apology," Boehner said in a Fox interview. "I think the ball is in the speaker's court. I think she needs to come forward, either present evidence or do an apology and let's get this behind us."
But unlike Gingrich, Boehner didn't call for Pelosi's resignation.
Democrats -- including the most powerful person in the party, President Obama -- have thrown their support behind the embattled speaker.
While announcing new emissions standards for U.S. automakers, the president singled out Pelosi in his praise.
"Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has just been cracking the whip and, you know, making Congress so productive over these last several days. We are grateful for her," Obama remarked.
The No. 2 Democrat in the House, majority leader Steny Hoyer, also jumped to Pelosi's defense.
"Let me be clear, so there is no misinterpretation of my view: I believe the speaker," Hoyer said.