Report: Gingrich now the frontrunner for chief of staff

I’m prepared to take full credit if this harebrained idea bears fruit.

And it might, if you believe White House reporter Andrew Feinberg:

On the other hand:

He reiterated that on “Fox & Friends” this morning, as you’ll see below. An honest denial, or is Newt merely being coy knowing there’s nothing Trump hates more than being upstaged? If POTUS is going to throw America a curveball by installing Gingrich in the White House, he probably wants it to come as a real surprise — which means Newt keeps his mouth shut tight until Trump himself gets to perform the grand reveal.

McKay Coppins profiled Gingrich recently and asked around about why Newt hasn’t joined the administration despite being a top Trump surrogate in 2016. It’s simple, he was told: Money.

In fact, according to a transition official, Gingrich had little interest in giving up his lucrative private-sector side hustles, and was never really in the running for a Cabinet position. Instead, he had two requests: that Trump’s team leak that he was being considered for high office, and that Callista, a lifelong Catholic, be named ambassador to the Holy See. (Gingrich disputes this account.)

Okay, but he’s 75 and surely wouldn’t serve as chief for more than a year or so, assuming he could stand the job for that long. How valuable is a year of extra income to him at this point relative to one last high-flying turn in America’s political spotlight, at the very center of all the action?

Trump and Newt would be a toxic brew of impulsive egocentric personalities, writes Joel Mathis, so yeah, this is all but destined to happen:

The bad news is that Gingrich’s presence in the West Wing would probably magnify every quality that already makes this administration seem like a circus: The backbiting, the made-for-television drama, the general insanity. The enduring picture of John Kelly’s White House tenure was the former Marine sitting off to the periphery of the president, looking exasperated and even ashamed. Gingrich is more likely to be photographed handing the president a box of matches and can of gasoline at the scene of a house fire…

Gingrich once shut down government because he thought President Clinton snubbed him. Can you imagine any act more Trumpist?

“[G]iven Gingrich’s own political predilections,” Mathis adds, “there’s little chance that, as chief of staff, he would try to ‘manage’ the president or rein in his worst excesses. Newt’s much more likely to let Trump be Trump, come what may.” Newt himself admitted as much in the interview you’re about to watch. “I don’t think you can ever impose order on Donald Trump,” he noted. “He is a unique entrepreneurial personality.” Trump has other candidates for the job who’d be willing to get out of his way if named chief of staff, but none as prominent as Gingrich.

And don’t forget: Newt shares POTUS’s searing contempt for hostile media, an intangible that might resonate with Trump. Long before the White House temporarily booted Jim Acosta from the premises, Newt was (allegedly) encouraging Trump to ban CNN from press briefings — or even to shut down the White House press room altogether. The closest Newt himself got to the presidency may have been the time he ripped CNN during a televised debate before the 2012 South Carolina primary. That moment played to big cheers among the activist right, propelling him to the win; in hindsight it was a small taste of what would draw populists to Trump four years later. This marriage is written in the stars.