After Donald Trump insulted Susana Martinez on Tuesday, shutting down a possible running mate, speculation is again turning to whom The Donald will actually pick. A source inside Trump’s orbit told PJ Media that former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is his most likely selection.
Here are the six reasons why Newt has the best chance of becoming Trump’s running mate.
6. Trump is looking for someone with federal legislative experience.
On Tuesday, Trump’s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, said that The Donald is looking for “someone who has federal elective experience so they understand how to make sure that they can get his legislative agenda done.”
This statement rules out many governors once thought to be on Trump’s shortlist, such as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Florida Gov. Rick Scott, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry.
The qualification of federal elective experience still includes quite a few other names, however. Senators like Jeff Sessions (Alabama), Bob Corker (Tennessee), Joni Ernst (Iowa) could still be contenders, along with governors who once served in Congress, like John Kasich (Ohio) and Mike Pence (Indiana). Newt Gingrich, as the former speaker of the House, also meets this qualification.
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5. Donald Trump values loyalty very highly.
As The Business Journals’ Brandon Sawalich wrote last year, the most important thing Donald Trump values in an employee is “a one-word answer: loyalty.”
Of those with federal elective experience, the loyalty qualification likely excludes Kasich, Ernst — who called Trump’s ban on Muslims entering the U.S. “ludicrous” — and Pence, who endorsed Ted Cruz right before the crucial Indiana primary. Pence still praised Trump then, and endorsed him in May, so he may not be completely eliminated.
Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker praised Trump’s foreign policy speech in April, although such praise was not an endorsement. Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions endorsed Trump in February and called for the Republican Party to coalesce behind The Donald back in March.
Gingrich has defended Trump nearly from the beginning. In early August, he called The Donald’s campaign a “phenomenon.” In late August, he said Trump was electable and would not hurt the GOP. In September, he defended The Donald, saying that the president doesn’t necessarily need to know the Quds force. Gingrich also praised Trump’s foreign policy speech in April. On Monday, Newt called Mitt Romney’s efforts to strengthen a third-party bid against Trump “pathetic.”
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4. A strong personality.
Suzie Mills, a Trump employee since 1996, told CNN that Trump would “definitely want somebody with a strong personality.” According to Mills, nothing annoys Trump more than “yes men.” Lili Amini, general manager of Trump National Golf Club in Los Angeles, who worked for Trump for 11 years, said she received some of the highest praise when she pushed back on her boss.
Corker has been described as “an independent guy — kind of a tough guy — who’s not afraid to swim upstream. … He’s not afraid to buck the old guard.” Sessions, as the first senator to back Trump, seems also to fit the mold well.
Once again, however, Gingrich seems the best fit. As California pastor Jim Garlow pointed out, Newt has the knowledge and experience to “challenge Mr. Trump’s thinking and political inexperience,” something that “few persons have the depth of knowledge and the self confidence to do.”
Gingrich is also a character. As speaker of the House, Gingrich fought President Clinton on the federal budget, leading to two government shutdowns. The former speaker has published multiple books and films such as Rediscovering God in America. Another book launched on May 17. His work shows a fearlessness to to promote subjects which have (sadly) now become very controversial, such as the faith-based foundations of the United States.
Next Page: Someone who can unite the Republican Party.
3. Someone who can unite the Republican Party.
Despite Trump’s declarations that he can win without Republicans, the presumptive nominee has also promised that he would unite the party. Trump’s advocacy for liberal issues in the past, as well as his notorious penchant for “scaling back” his comments, has alienated many conservatives. Picking a stalwart conservative who has previously led the party might bring some of the #NeverTrumpers back into the fold.
While Sessions and Corker have proven themselves principled conservatives, and Mike Pence has been seen as a rising star, Gingrich would bring much more to the table.
Newt is a student of President Ronald Reagan and a proponent of his philosophy. Among other things, Gingrich produced a film about the president, Ronald Reagan: Rendezvous with Destiny. While the 40th president was not a saint, and his hagiographies can become rather grating, his policy prescriptions have become a sort of “gold standard” of conservatism. Gingrich is perhaps his strongest current acolyte.
Further, as a former leader of the party when a Democrat held the Oval Office, Gingrich is remembered fondly as a standard-bearer who helped restrain big government. While his presidential campaign in 2012 ended in defeat, many remember him as the Republican who led in the 1990s. As the Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway noted, “Gingrich was the architect of the GOP takeover of Congress and enacted welfare reform and tax cuts.” It doesn’t get much better than that.
Christian organizer David Lane agreed, saying that “Newt orchestrated the Republican takeover of the House in 94. Without Newt there would not have been the Republican victory, a Republican House majority, a balanced budget, etc…”
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2. A strong faith outreach.
Many exit polls showed that Trump won the “evangelical” vote, but an analysis of counties where Trump did the best versus counties where Ted Cruz defeated him showed that Cruz did much better in areas where more people attend church regularly.
The Donald famously became a laughingstock in the Christian community by referring to “Two Corinthians” rather than “Second Corinthians,” and he has repeatedly declared that he does not recall ever asking God for forgiveness — despite his history of sleeping around and his two broken marriages.
By contrast, Gingrich has demonstrated repentance and made himself the face of Christian conservatism. While Newt also has two previous failed marriages, his conversion to Roman Catholicism and his advocacy for faith in understandings of the nation’s founding demonstrate a deep-rooted belief, something Trump seems to lack.
Christian organizer David Lane, president of the American Renewal Project, an organization which has convinced over 500 pastors to run for local political office, expressed huge support for Gingrich. “I believe that Newt can mobilize evangelical and pro-life Catholic Christians,” Lane told PJ Media.
“When they come to write the story of the New Right and conservative movement of the last quarter of the 20th century, one of the names that will be writ large is Newt Gingrich,” Lane said in an email statement.
Emphasizing Gingrich’s contrition, Lane recalled “Newt in an interview with James Dobson admitted his sin nationwide, ‘I’ve gotten on my knees and sought God’s forgiveness.'”
Other leaders who hold sway within the Christian conservative movement have also backed Newt for VP. Beverly LaHaye, who co-founded the Moral Majority in 1979 (with Tim LaHaye and Jerry Falwell), said a Trump-Gingrich ticket “sounds great to me.”
Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, who rallied Christians to his cause in 2008, said Gingrich could fit many roles in a Trump administration. Pastor Brad Atkins, former president of the Southern Baptist Convention in South Carolina, said Gingrich’s name on the ticket “could make this very interesting for those that are disenfranchised with the GOP.”
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1. The ability to help Trump get things done in Congress.
Most importantly, Gingrich has an impressive record at actually achieving things in Congress. Trump has repeatedly said that he is looking for a vice presidential candidate with this ability, and few match the resume of a Republican who got a Democratic president to sign welfare reform.
As Hemingway noted, “Trump needs to keep his brand of ‘outsider’ but is in desperate need of someone who is the ultimate insider. Gingrich, who spent 20 years in Congress and previously ran for president in a pre-Trumpian campaign, knows the ropes without hurting [Trump’s] credibility.” Indeed, Gingrich shares with Trump “a true love for populism and a disdain for media control of political debate.” These two things make him an excellent brother-in-arms for The Donald.
Lane argued that Gingrich could not only “mobilize evangelical and pro-life Catholic Christians” to get Trump elected, but he could also help The Donald govern. “There’s no living American with the institutional knowledge of how the executive, legislative and judicial branches work than Newt, and how to structure and implement change to further liberty and freedom.”
“Newt’s the perfect pick to help reestablish the legacy Ronald Reagan bequeathed to the Republican Party,” Lane added. He listed “limited government, deregulation of business, lower taxes, and the attitude that ‘the one thing government can do for me is leave me alone.'”
National Review‘s Eliana Johnson noted that Gingrich’s influence within “Trump World” is widespread. “Right from the minute I joined we were told that Newt will have his hand in every major policy effort,” a Trump aide told her. Previously, Gingrich criticized the Iraq war and Paul Ryan’s Medicare reform proposals, annoying the Republican establishment but presaging Trump’s unorthodox positions.
Whether or not Trump taps Gingrich as his VP, the former speaker is likely to have a strong hand in The Donald’s administration, should the presumptive Republican nominee defeat likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton this November.