Three weeks ago I told Newt Gingrich to his face before an audience of 3,000 that he had laid the groundwork for Trump when as Speaker of the House in the 1990s Gingrich blocked all legislation that might have put the working class on an upward trajectory rather than its downward one. And when Gingrich’s anti-government, scorched-earth tactics set a precedent for winning at all costs.
Gingrich set other precedents for Trump: During 1990s debates over welfare reform, Gingrich invoked racial stereotypes about African-Americans. During his unsuccessful bid for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012, Gingrich repeatedly called President Obama the “food stamp president.” And Gingrich played to birther movement sentiments in 2010 when he said that Mr. Obama exhibited “Kenyan, anticolonial behavior.”
Gingrich is a major supporter of Trump, and now that Trump is imploding, Gingrich is positioning himself as the keeper of the Trump-campaign themes and, by extension, as the politician best able to mobilize Trump supporters going forward. “I don’t defend him [Trump] when he wanders off,” Gingrich recently told ABC News. But “there’s a big Trump and there’s a little Trump,” he said, explaining that the big Trump is the one who has created issues that make “the establishment” very uncomfortable. “The big Trump,” he said, “is a historic figure.”
Baloney. Trump is a disgrace. So is Newt.