Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said Thursday he has not had any conversations with presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump about serving as his running mate and suggested it would be premature to rule it in or out because the spot hasn’t been offered.
“You should never turn down an opportunity until it shows up,” said Gingrich, who appeared with former Vermont Democratic Gov. Howard Dean at the Willis Tower offices of the global law firm Dentons, where the two serve as senior advisers.
Later, recounting Trump’s unorthodox rise in the Republican primaries, Gingrich added: “Why would I want to say ‘no’ to the circus? I like circuses.”
The former speaker from Georgia acknowledged talking often to Trump during the campaign. While his name has been mentioned as a possible Trump vice presidential candidate, Gingrich termed it “rumor” and said “every editor wants to use your name (in a story) because they know that the readers actually know who you are, and that means they’ll read it.”
Assessing the race between Trump and Democratic former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Gingrich said it will be “the loudest, most contentious, most unavoidable and, in some ways, most intriguing election in modern history.”
Gingrich indicated the future of the Supreme Court could be a motivating factor in unifying Republican voters, including gun-rights advocates, regardless of uncertainties about Trump, a real estate mogul and former reality TV star.
“You put up a big poster of Hillary … and you say to most Republicans, ‘This is the future of the Supreme Court if you do nothing.’ And most Republicans go, ‘OK, I don’t actually care who Trump is. I’m against her,” he said.
Gingrich credited Trump’s use of social media and said it actually may appeal to younger voters in the fall “partly out of entertainment value.”
“This is a culture in which, if one person is really boring and the other person is really amusing, the amusing person gains ground,” he said. The past two GOP presidential nominees, Arizona Sen. John McCain and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney “were stiff. They weren’t fun. There was no joy” compared with Obama, Gingrich said.
Asked about the job performance of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Gingrich would only say, “I just don’t want to comment. I don’t want to get in the middle of it.”
That’s a far cry from his remarks to conservative radio host Sean Hannity following the November 2015 release of dashboard video of the police shooting of African-American teen Laquan McDonald by a white officer, who has been charged with murder.
“Our presidential candidates should be asking for Emanuel to resign and for Emanuel to be prosecuted,” Gingrich said.
Dean, who as national Democratic chairman feuded with the mayor during Emanuel’s days in Congress as head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, also was asked by moderator Carol Marin to assess the mayor.
“Absolutely not,” Dean replied.
(c)2016 the Chicago Tribune
Visit the Chicago Tribune at www.chicagotribune.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
This content is published through a licensing agreement with Acquire Media using its NewsEdge technology.