Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has embraced Donald Trump. However, like other Republicans, he has found himself at the receiving end of Trump complaints even if he is considered a potential running mate. Trump’s comments on Judge Gonzalo Curiel sparked a back-and-forth between the two, but Gingrich later backed off on the criticism and insists that Trump will beat Hillary Clinton in November.
Gingrich also came to Trump’s defense after the Washington Post released a poll that showed Clinton’s lead on Trump growing. While on Fox & Friends, Gingrich said that the Post is “committing a hatchet job on Trump.”
Here’s a look at Gingrich and Trump’s relationship.
1. Formally Endorsed Trump in May After Staying Out of Primaries
Gingrich, who did run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012, opted not to do during this election cycle. He even decided to hold off on endorsing any candidate until Trump became the presumptive nominee. Gingrich announced his decision to endorse Trump in a appearance on Fox News’ Hannity.
“I endorse Donald Trump,” Gingrich said. “I am going to work very hard for the nominee.”
Gingrich had been leaning towards Trump before May, but he told Politico in April that Trump “normalized Ted Cruz.” He explained that if Trump wasn’t running, the establishment would be against Cruz, who was seen as an alternative to Trump until he dropped out.
2. Reportedly Stumped for Trump Behind the Scenes in Washington
As previously noted, Gingrich had been supportive of Trump before his formal endorsement. The Daily Beast even reported in March that Gingrich spoke at a closed-door meeting of Republican Congressional chiefs of staff in Baltimore, where he called Trump a “blue-collar bar room brawler.”
In the meeting, Gingirch even suggested that the chiefs of staff use Trump’s campaign as a model for the House and Senate members they work for. “There’s a lot to learn here which you can take back to your member’s office,” Gingrich said at the meeting, reports the Daily Beast.
The Daily Beast also reported that Trump and Gingrich met several times over the past year and Gingrich has helped advise Trump.
3. Gingrich Wrote That Trump is a ‘Genuine Phenomenon’
In January, Gingrich wrote an op-ed in the Washington Times, calling Trump a “genuine phenomenon” and that he learned so much about Trump by reading Trump’s 1987 book The Art of the Deal. “Anyone who would like to better understand Donald Trump would be helped by reading this remarkable book,” Gingrich wrote.
Gingrich was particularly impressed by the story of the Wollman Skating Rink in New York’s Central Park. After six years and $13 million, New York City still hadn’t fixed it up, so Trump offered to fix it himself in 1986. Trump was refused at first, but he kept insisting and officials let him do it. He suggested that because Trump could get this project in under budget, maybe he could do the same with a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
“After reading this chapter you begin to think that maybe Donald Trump really could build a wall along our southern border for a lot less than our current government estimates,” Ginrich wrote.
4. Blasted Paul Ryan for not Supporting Trump Right Away
Gingrich said on Fox News:
He has an obligation to unify the party, he has an obligation to reach out. Obviously he and Donald Trump are going to have disagreements. Some of them will work out, some of them they won’t. That’s fine. Our Constitution provides that speakers and presidents can fight, but I think [Ryan] sends the wrong signal and a signal I think endangers the House Republicans and sure endangers the Senate Republicans.
5. Gingrich Called Trump’s Curiel Comments ‘Inexcusable’
On June 12, Gingrich called Trump’s comments about Judge Curiel “one of the worst mistakes Trump has made” and “inexcusable.” Trump has said that Curiel cannot be an objective judge for the Trump University lawsuits because Curiel is of Mexican descent. Gingrich’s comments later made an appearance in a Hillary clinton campaign ad against Trump that highlighted what Republicans have said about Trump’s comments.
Trump told Fox News that Gingrich’s comments were “inappropriate.”
During the week, Gingrich spoke at the Bio International Convention and he stood by Trump, even as he called him an “absurd amateur.” Gingrich later tweeted that he still thinks Trump is learning and will win in November.