Gingrich: ‘Mistake’ For Ryan to Hold Out On Endorsing Trump, Speaker Should Be a ‘Unifying Figure’

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 16: Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. speaks at the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) MARCH 16, 2013 in National Harbor, Maryland. This year's theme is "America’s Future: The Next Generation of Conservatives. New Challenges, Timeless Principles." (Photo by Pete Marovich/Getty …
Pete Marovich/Getty Images

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich tells SiriusXM host Stephen K. Bannon on Breitbart News Daily that he disagrees with Paul Ryan’s reluctance to endorse Donald Trump as the Republican presidential nominee – an aspect of what Gingrich saw as unnecessary tension between conservatism and populism.

Gingrich said it was a “mistake” for Ryan to withhold his endorsement of Trump.

“As the head of the Republican Party in the House, he really speaks for 247 members, and I think you need to be a unifying figure at that point, not a divisive figure,” he explained.  

“In addition, as Speaker of the House, he has enormous potential power,” Gingrich said of Ryan. “He doesn’t have to schedule anything, and so if he wants to negotiate with Trump, all he’s gotta say is, ‘you know, if we don’t reach an agreement, your legislative program’s not gonna get scheduled.’ He can do that very quietly, in private. It’s an objective fact of how the system works.”

Gingrich hoped the meeting between Trump and Ryan this week would be “positive,” and they would “find a way to be unified.”

“I think it’s good for the country, I think it’s good for the Republican Party,” he said. “There’s a pretty fair chance that Donald Trump’s going to be the next President, and so you wouldn’t want to have a Republican Speaker and a Republican President start their working-together process with a lot of bad blood. I’m hoping that this week, it’ll get sorted out.”

Gingrich praised Ryan as “a very principled, very serious guy who has spent an immense amount of time studying issues” and “feels deeply about them.” He thought Ryan was trying to send a signal to Trump that there are “really serious policy discussions they need to have.”

“I think he could have done it better, more effectively, but nonetheless hopefully the meeting this week will get that all worked out,” he said.

Bannon noted that Gingrich was a historian, and the author of several well-received historical fiction novels, most recently Victory at Yorktown. He asked for Gingrich’s perspective as a historian on the populist, nationalist movement that Trump has evidently given voice to, and whether the gap between movement conservatism and this movement could be bridged.

“I’m not sure there’s a gap between conservatism and populism,” Gingrich replied. “There’s a gap between a set of values that were shaped in a different world, and some objective realities.”

“For example, I strongly supported Donald Trump’s speech on foreign policy, questioning the current establishment and the current system, because we are in the fourteenth year since 9/11 – that would be the equivalent of 1955 after Pearl Harbor. If we were still fighting Imperial Japan in 1955, there would have been some very serious national debates, because it took us about four years to win that war,” said Gingrich.

“The idea that we’ve lost over 4,000 young Americans died, over 50,000 seriously wounded, several trillion dollars spent, and we clearly haven’t won – seems to me that’s a legitimate place to have a serious national debate, and not just chant ideology, but actually look at reality,” he continued. “Replacing Qaddafi turned out to be a disaster, Libya’s just a total mess. Replacing Mubarak almost turned out to be a disaster, and if al-Sisi had not come into power, Egypt would be as bad today as Libya.”

“You just go around the region, and you realize our foreign policy establishment – the State Department under both Bush and Obama – has to be totally, thoroughly overhauled,” Gingrich urged. “That’s going to cause lots of ripples in Washington, D.C. That really goes against the go-along, get-along mentality of Washington.”

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