Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich argued that while “I don’t know, frankly, that anybody could have done a much better job” than John Boehner, the House shouldn’t let the Senate “become the definer of the fight,” and that if he was speaker he’d tell the president “‘You’re out of money. You want to close the government? Close the government.'” on Friday’s “Hannity” on the Fox News Channel.
Gingrich stated that Republicans are right to feel betrayed, continuing, “Well, you know, the most recent survey that Gallup did by 60 to 32, the American people want a smaller federal government. They’re not getting it. You look at people who believe the in the 2nd Amendment, you have a president who’s consistently violating the Constitution, who’s now suggesting by executive order, he’s going to impose various forms of gun control that he could never get through the Congress. Every time you turn around, there is something more outrageous coming out of Washington, and the Republicans don’t seem to be capable of organizing a successful opposition. and I think i’m very sympathetic to the problems that [Speaker Rep.] John Boehner (R-OH) had. I don’t know, frankly, that anybody could have done a much better job. But I think what you’re seeing has to be put in context. The Freedom Caucus is a symptom of a much deeper anger in the country. They’re a symptom of the Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, [Sen.] Ted Cruz (R-TX), who between them, have about 60% of the vote of the Republican primary, and I think the Washington establishment, whether it’s the K Street lobbyists, it’s news media or it’s the Republican members of the House and Senate need to understand, we’re in the middle of a historic change, not just politics as usual, and the country is increasingly angry.”
When asked, “Would you consider being speaker again, if asked?” Gingrich answered, “Well, look, first of all, I think the key challenge here, and I would say this to [Rep.] Paul Ryan who is probably the smartest, the most disciplined person in the House, and who is the obvious person for everyone to turn to. This is not about personality. You had Eric Cantor knocked out in a primary by a stunning margin, and [Rep.] Dave Brat (R-VA), by the way, his successor’s put out a very good list of the first ten things House Republicans should do, well worth looking at. You’ve had Speaker Boehner, who reached a conclusion that it was too expensive and too painful to keep fighting. You had [Rep.] Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who I was for, I thought was the logical next speaker. You had him just now stop, and people better understand this is not about finding a magic personality. The Republicans need to slow down. They need to go into a number of day-long conferences where they honestly listen to each other. Every one of those 247 won an election. Every one of them deserves to be heard. But then you can say to every one of them, ‘Now you have to listen to the rest of us, too.’ And they’ve got to come up with a strategy, which moves us towards the values of the American people, and which successfully takes on Barack Obama and curtails him as an unconstitutional president.”
Although, later, after host Sean Hannity said, “I got your message, you’re not seeking the speakership,” Gingrich did not disagree with Hannity’s statement.
Gingrich later added, “Here are the two great secrets of being a failure in Washington. The first is to allow the Senate, in which the Democrats are far more ruthless, and far more willing to stop anything, to become the definer of the fight. And the second is to be afraid to take the president on constitutionally. I read this piece this morning. They talked about the catastrophic 2013 shutdown. One of the most successful Republican elections in history was 2014. Highest number of House members since 1928, took control of the US senate. Largest number of state legislators since — in the history of the party, since 1856, largest number. Yet, this Washington reporter says this was a catastrophic shutdown. Give me three more catastrophes, and we’ll control everything. I mean, we have to understand Ronald Reagan didn’t look at weekly polls. Margaret Thatcher didn’t look at weekly polls. And I’ll tell you, in 1995, when we forced Bill Clinton to decide he wanted to actually implement welfare reform, and we forced him to agree that we’re going to balance the federal budget, we didn’t look at weekly polls. We looked at the nation, the future, and whether or not we could explain what we were doing.”
When asked about his reactions to Boehner and Ryan, Gingrich responded, “nobody’s going to be perfect. … I mean, if you picked the most perfect member of the Freedom Caucus, and you put them in charge of the House. within two weeks, half the Freedom Caucus will be mad at them, and half the rest of the conference will be mad at them. So just start with — these are troubled times. These are times that produce a Ben Carson, a Carly Fiorina, a Donald Trump, and, on the other side, a [Sen.] Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and we need to understand, people — if — you can’t set a standard of perfection, that nobody’s going to meet that standard. But [what] you can say is, here’s the question I would ask, before they pick a speaker, and Paul Ryan is a very, very smart guy, and if he wants to run, I suspect he’ll probably win partly because people are frightened right now, and they all want to rush to get…to a decision, rather than stop and think, because it scares them to be in this level of turmoil, and the news media is beating on them and saying, you’ve got to do something right now, or it will look terrible, and you’ll be really bad, which is, by the way, all baloney, the election’s over a year off. Don’t worry about it. Try to think through what the right thing is. But I’ll tell you, what I would ask of any potential speaker is, tell me your strategy. Explain to me how you’re going to bring the Republicans together in the House. Explain to me how you’re going to stand up to the Senate, and explain to me how you’re going to curtail the most unconstitutional president in history?”
Gingrich answered his own questions with, “I think they’ve got to start by listening to each other at levels of depth that they have not thought about. They probably have to change some of the House rules to expand the opportunity for individuals to ventilate. You know, you run for office, you win office, you feel like you can’t just be treated like you’re a mushroom, and they’re going to dump you in the cellar, and not ever tell you anything. You have a right as an elected representative to be a genuine part of the process, not just a tool of K Street, or a tool of whatever ideological group is dominant this week. So, one, they have to really think about some rules changes. They have to think about a whole new model of listening to each other, and working together. Two, I think they’ve got to say to the Senate, ‘We love you guys. We know you’re doing the best you can in a terrible place, and we know that Harry — somehow [Sen.] Harry Reid (D-NV) keeps buffaloing you guys, and that [Sen. Chuck] Schumer’s (D-NY) about to be his replacement in buffaloing you guys, we’re going to do what is right for the US House, and we’ll go to conference. We’ll see you in conference, and we’ll work out everything in conference, but we’re not going to pass in the House what you think you can pass in the Senate, because the Democrats won’t let you pass things that matter.’ And finally, I’d say to the president, and this has to happen, if this does not happen, you’re going have a run of unconstitutionality that terrifying between now and the new president coming in in 2017. I would say to the president, ‘You’re out of money. You want to close the government? Close the government. Let’s go to the American people and talk about it. But we’re not going to allow to sell out America to the Iranians, who, by the way, are now the Russians’ allies in Syria. We’re not going to allow you to destroy the 2nd Amendment by executive fiat. We’re not going to allow to destroy the American process of immigration and citizenship by executive order. We’re not going to –‘ and even George Will, who’s a very solid establishment guy, has come out for impeaching the head of the Internal Revenue Service, which effects every taxpayer in the country. Well, there’s an easy gimme. I mean, if George Will thinks this guy’s bad enough, and Andy McCarthy began calling for it a year ago, surely the House Republicans have an easy target to start down the road on. They were going to set up a committee on the Planned Parenthood, that’s the right step. [Rep.] Trey Gowdy (R-SC) is doing a great job. … So, there are things you can do to begin to crowd in Obama, and weaken his ability to be unconstitutional.”
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