Trump Campaign Reportedly Vetting Newt Gingrich For The Vice-Presidency

Vice-President Gingrich? Really?

In addition to Chris Christie, it appears that Donald Trump’s campaign is vetting former House Speaker and 2012 Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich to be Trump’s Vice-Presidential running mate:

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has begun formally vetting prospective vice presidential picks.

The New York billionaire is considering former House Speaker Newt Gingrich andNew Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, among what he previously described as a short list of possible running mates. Their inclusion was confirmed by people with direct knowledge of the vetting process who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the situation publicly.

Trump begins the vetting process with less than three weeks before the start of the Republican National Convention, when he said he would publicly unveil his pick.

Gingrich and Christie, who both received vetting paperwork in the last 24 hours, emerged as prominent Trump allies in recent months, even as the presumptive nominee faced deep and sustained skepticism from many GOP leaders. Trump’s relationship with other would-be running mates was badly strained in the bruising Republican primary season, leaving him with a small pool of willing and qualified candidates.

Trump on Thursday acknowledged Christie was under consideration.

“I’m certainly looking at him and I always will. Whether it’s for that or something else,” Trump told conservative radio host Howie Carr. He later described Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as “somebody we respect a lot.”

Pence told Indiana reporters Thursday he hasn’t spoken with Trump in several weeks and referred questions to the Trump campaign, which declined to comment further on the vice presidential search.

While formal vetting did not begin until this week, Trump told The Associated Press last month he’d narrowed his vice presidential list to “a very good list of five or six people.”

His vice presidential pick could be crucial to easing the concerns of Republicans who worry about his lack of political experience, as well as his temperament to be commander in chief. Tapping a political insider would also be a way for Trump to signal a willingness to work with the party establishment he has thoroughly bashed even after emerging as the presumptive nominee.

Many have already been ruled out consideration, including Florida Gov. Rick Scott and primary rival Marco Rubio, a Florida senator seeking re-election.

“I have never sought, will not seek and do not want to be considered for vice president,” Rubio wrote on Facebook.

Trump said last month, and has repeated in the weeks since, that he preferred someone with political experience to help him guide his agenda through Washington.

“I think that’s good for a number of reasons. No. 1, if you win, which hopefully we will. I want help with – you know, I want a hand with legislation, getting things through. And if you bring a business person – we don’t need another business person,” Trump said.

The Washington Post’s Robert Costa and Karen Tumulty are reporting that Gingrich and Christie are the leading candidates to be Trump’s running mate, although there are others being discussed as backups in the event the vetting process uncovers something disqualifying, the candidates rule themselves out, or Trump decides he’s not happy with either choice. I’ve already discussed the pros and cons of a Christie selection, but it’s not surprising that he’s being included on the final last given his relationship with Trump and his record. Similarly, there are a number of arguments for why Gingrich would be a good selection as well.

Like Christie, Gingrich had been identified as being on Trump’s short list several weeks ago, and even then had been identified along with Christie as being in the “top two” when it comes to finalists on Trump’s list, so it’s not entirely surprising that the former Speaker has made it this far in the process.  Admittedly, it is somewhat surprising that the vetting process is only beginning now given that there are less than three weeks left before the Republican convention, but it may well be that this is some sort of second stage of the vetting process and that much of the initial screening has already been completed. Of course, when it comes to political figures in contemporary America, Newt Gingrich would seem to be one of the few people that there isn’t much new to learn about. His extensive record of writing and making sometimes controversial proposals is a matter of public record as is a personal life that rivals Trump in its luridness, with a history of emotional abandonment of his spouses and single-minded pursuit of political power that is hard to match among contemporary politicians. At the same time, there are few people out there who understand better how the political game on Capitol Hill works and, even though it’s been nearly twenty years since he served in Congress, Gingrich’s mastery of the inner workings of Congress as an institution would arguably serve Trump well should a Trump/Gingrich ticket take office in January.

At the same time, this is is Newt Gingrich we’re talking about, and Jennifer Rubin suggests he’d be an even worse choice than Christie:

Gingrich is hardly a model of stability and sobriety. With a penchant for goofy ideas (Who can forget the moon colony?), flamboyant language and pseudo-intellectual pretentiousness, he only compounds Trump’s worst characteristics. To be blunt, Gingrich is also old. At 73, he is older than both Trump and Hillary Clinton. A 70-year-old presidential nominee, one would think, would want someone younger, fitter and more energetic as his VP.

Gingrich is a high-risk candidate, one who might upstage Trump and draw attention with his own controversial comments. He has also been at times candid in criticizing Trump (especially on the latter’s racist comments about Judge Gonzalo Curiel). Mitt Romney shredded Gingrich in the 2012 presidential election, leaving a trail of attack ads and opposition research for Hillary Clinton to update and recycle.

Listen, Trump is not likely to attract restrained, sober men of character to be his running mate. Such people wouldn’t work for Trump and would only highlight Trump’s shortcomings. With Trump widely expected to lose, no pol with a bright future wants to be sullied by a losing campaign and association with the toxic Trump. Only someone with few, if any, political options, at the end of his political career, would be inclined to accept a bid.

Sounds like a job for Newt!

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2016, Donald Trump, Politicians, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. grumpy realist says:

    oh please oh please oh please YES YES YES….

    The Universe ain’t got enough popcorn if ol’ Newt gets picked.

    (I still think they won’t. They’re too skeered that that thing that lives on Callista’s head will jump off and bite the thing that lives on Trumpy’s head. Or vice versa.)

  2. Mister Bluster says:

    “If the Soviet empire still existed, I’d be terrified. The fact is, we can afford a fairly ignorant presidency now.” Newt

  3. Andrew says:

    Correct me if I am wrong, but was there not a time in recent political views that an Elite, well to do, educated, Northerner was a bad qualification for a Republican nominee for either POTUS or VPOTUS? Now there are TWO!? In either Trump/Christie or Trump/Gingrich?

    (I can understand at this point that it’s basically throwing s..tuff against the wall to see what sticks to try and salvage a winnable Republican ticket. I am under the impression this is not exactly what Republicans really wanted in a leader figurehead.)
    A Millionaire businessman with zero political office experience, and a career politic with more skeletons than a necromancer? Heck of a ticket, Brownie!

  4. michael reynolds says:

    Gingrich would be a smart choice. Trump’s big concern, should he win, has got to be impeachment. The knives will be out for Trump from the Blue Team, but also from the battered remnants of the GOP establishment. His best defense is to pick a Veep so objectionable in his own right that no Senate would vote to empower them.

    My original choice for Trump was Carson, on the grounds that no one thinks Carson should be any closer to the button than Trump. And in Trump’s tiny little brain he’d imagine that choice would protect him from charges of racism. But Gingrich keeps the ticket pure white and 100% male, and he’s such an insufferable dick he’d have no independent base.

    Of course Gingrich doesn’t want to be Veep, he wants the big job. He’s betting Trump will be impeached and we’ll have Newt The First in the Oval.

  5. Jen says:

    @Andrew: Northerner? Gingrich is from Georgia…I live in New Hampshire. We don’t consider Georgia “Northern.” It was one of the original colonies, but I don’t think that’s quite enough.

  6. grumpy realist says:

    @michael reynolds: Yah, but that presumes that Newt doesn’t get the guillotine as well.

    Ryan must be grinning with glee over the possibility. I definitely see the possibility of him setting up a Teapot Dome scandal, no?

  7. Andrew says:

    @Jen:

    He used to represent Georgia, yes. Being born in Harrisburg, PA and a career D.C. Politic. I am not exactly sure that counts. He moved to Georgia while in High School, only after already living in Europe at a young age. I just think that maybe the same scrutiny applied to a native Hawaiian should apply to the former speaker…

    (I know it’s splitting hairs. )

  8. Hal_10000 says:

    I’ve met Newt. He’s a very smart man who knows a lot about a lot. He also has no business being anywhere near the Presidency.

    Honestly, I think the main reason Trump is looking at him is because Newt’s personal life makes Trump’s look good by comparison.

  9. Gustopher says:

    @Hal_10000: Knowledge of facts does not make one smart — being able to tie these facts together into a useful framework of abstract ideas, and remain cognizant of which facts do and don’t support that framework, and the relative truthiness of the facts makes one smart.

    Newt doesn’t have that.

  10. grumpy realist says:

    @Hal_10000: Nah, Newt’s what a dumb idiot thinks a smart man sounds like.

  11. Andre Kenji says:

    So, there would six marriages in only one Presidential Ticket.

  12. Grumpy Realist says:

    Great comment over at TPM, about a Christie-Trump ticket:

    Fat Man and Little Boy, similar to two other bombs that were dropped.

  13. Kylopod says:

    I still can’t bring myself to believe that Trump would place on his ticket someone with an ego more than half the size of his own. One of the consistent things about Trump is the way he surrounds himself by pure lackeys who all sound like they belong to the Trump Borg or something. (Quick quiz: who was it who said Trump would be the “healthiest president in history”? Who was it who promised he’d win 100% of the black vote? Hint: Neither has the first name “Donald.”)

    As I said the other day, Newt has always struck me as being sort of like a mini-Trump. He once said “People like me are what stand between us and Auschwitz.” He also has plenty of experience with white racial politics (“food stamp president”). He’s like the faux-intellectual version of Trump. If Trump is a poor person’s idea of a rich person, Newt is a stupid person’s idea of a smart person. They’re too similar to fit on one ticket; it would be matter and antimatter.

  14. Hal_10000 says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Nah. You’ve got him confused with Algore.

  15. Andre Kenji says:

    The problem for Trump is that only complete losers like Christie, Gingrich and Palin have nothing to lose by joining him on the ticket. That´s not the case with sitting senators or governors, or anyone with a viable political future.

  16. gVOR08 says:

    @Grumpy Realist:

    Christie-Trump ticket:

    Fat Man and Little Boy

    I give up, of those two, who’s supposed to be little boy?

  17. Moosebreath says:

    @Kylopod:

    “Hint: Neither has the first name “Donald.””

    I suspect you are wrong, and both statements were dictated by Trump; his lackeys merely repeated them.

  18. Kylopod says:

    @Moosebreath: Of course! But that supports, rather than undermines, my point. When I talked about who “said” each, I was referring to public statements.

  19. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @gVOR08: The one with the small hands?

  20. CSK says:

    @Andre Kenji:

    Not gonna be Palin. She’s signed up for a gig on “The Match Game.”

    No, I am not joking.

  21. dennis says:

    @Kylopod:

    I still can’t bring myself to believe that Trump would place on his ticket someone with an ego more than half the size of his own.

    You are so right, Kylopod. Just sit back, breath deeply, and you can see the internal conflict spinning faster and faster in that joke of a campaign. Oh, those two would implode. Magnificently. There’s no way that would last two seconds.

  22. dennis says:

    *breathe. Geezus.

  23. An Interested Party says:

    The most repulsive presidential ticket ever…

  24. HarvardLaw92 says:

    I’m not a Christian, but … Thank you Jesus … 🙂

  25. Bob@Youngstown says:

    I’m looking forward to the Pres. debates.
    What are the odds that Donald never shows?

  26. CSK says:

    @Bob@Youngstown:

    Quite high.

  27. Pch101 says:

    Make America Grating Again.