Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich ramped up his campaign for the No. 2 spot on the Republican ticket Sunday, defending presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump while denying anyone has called him about the job.
Gingrich, who — like Trump — has been married three times and redefined the Republican Party, told “Fox News Sunday” there is a “wave building against the establishment.”
Gingrich said Trump has to become as effective in reaching out to minorities as he has been in reaching out to white Americans. He said the real estate mogul has 60 days to develop an aggressive program to reach out to Hispanics and other ethnic groups.
Asked whether he’s being considered as a vice presidential pick, Gingrich said: “Nobody’s called me. Nobody’s said, ‘Would you like to be,’ nobody’s said, ‘Would you like to be considered.”
Gingrich said he doubts Trump even has started to consider a running mate.
“He’s probably going to start thinking about it two days before Cleveland,” Gingrich said, referring to the July 18-21 Republican National Convention. “Donald Trump does not want to start thinking about it. He’s a very decisive person. There’s not much vetting to do. You guys have been all over me for more than a decade. It’s all out on Google.”
Trump has said he wants a seasoned politician on the ticket.
On criticism by presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton that Trump lacks the experience necessary to be president, Gingrich disagreed, saying Clinton was wrong on last week’s vote in Britain to leave the European Union, wrong on Libya (“She thought it somehow would get better if we knocked off [Moammar] Gadhafi,” he said) and wrong on the reset with Russia.
“What has she been right about? You need more of this kind of experience?” Gingrich asked. “There’s no reason to believe Hillary Clinton’s experiences qualify her for anything except retirement.”
Gingrich, who was speaker of the House from 1995 to 1999 when he resigned from Congress as a result of the poor showing of Republicans in the 1998 midterm elections, rejected criticism of Trump’s business record and decried the administration record on the economy and predicting a recession by late summer, citing manufacturing statistics, consumer confidence, fall in the size of the work force and a slowing of economic growth.
The former history teacher said Trump’s misstatements on Clinton’s positions are not important and that it’s Clinton’s overall record that’s important. He recharacterized Trump’s flip on banning all Muslims from entering the United States and deporting the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country as an evolution in thought.
“It [Trump’s positions] may evolve as the facts evolve and he learns more. This is a guy who has never been involved in public policy until June of last year,” Gingrich said.
Trump on Saturday appeared to shift his positions, saying a ban on Muslims should apply just to those from “terror states.” Gingrich on Sunday said a better test might be one regarding Sharia law and loyalty to the Islamic State group.
“We’re fighting people all over the world who are dangerous to us,” Gingrich said, adding most Americans want a tighter view on how we handle terrorists.
Gingrich said Clinton’s greater warchest and massive campaign staff won’t matter, likening her superior organization to that of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who failed to get any traction during primary season.