Is there no ally our nominee can count on in his time of crisis? Christie’s supposedly still miffed about the VP thing, Pence is on TV endorsing Trump’s frenemy Paul Ryan, and now here’s Trump cheerleader Newt Gingrich dismissing him as an unacceptable choice for president — for the moment — in the Washington Post. When the smoke clears, will anyone still be there by Trump’s side? Besides Sean Hannity, I mean.
We all knew that eventually revenge would be taken for Gingrich being passed over for VP and now here it is. Et tu, Newt-e?
“The current race is which of these two is the more unacceptable, because right now neither of them is acceptable,” Gingrich said in a Wednesday morning telephone interview. “Trump is helping her to win by proving he is more unacceptable than she is.”
Gingrich said Trump has only a matter of weeks to reverse course. “Anybody who is horrified by Hillary should hope that Trump will take a deep breath and learn some new skills,” he said. “He cannot win the presidency operating the way he is now. She can’t be bad enough to elect him if he’s determined to make this many mistakes.”
The core argument against #NeverTrumpers is that Trump is necessarily acceptable because Hillary Clinton is unacceptable and it’s a binary choice. Anything is better than Hillary, Trump is part of “anything,” therefore Trump is better. Does Newt disagree with that? His line about Trump proving he’s “more unacceptable than she is” suggests that Gingrich himself believes, however temporarily, that right now she’s a more responsible choice than he is. I hope someone gets him to clarify. Is the choice for him no longer binary, such that #NeverTrumpers can stick with not voting for either, or is the choice still binary but #NeverTrumpers are obliged to vote Clinton?
Speaking of acceptable and unacceptable:
Only 18% of registered voters said Donald Trump comments on the appearance of Khizr and Ghazala Kahn at Democratic convention were appropriate, 59% said not appropriate, according to Morning Consult tracking poll.
Only 14% said responses make them much more or somewhat more likely to vote for Trump; 34% said responses make them somewhat or much less likely to support him.
Those numbers aren’t good but they could be much worse. The vast majority of that 34 percent that says it’s now less likely to vote for him was no doubt already firmly opposed to voting for him in the first place. He probably didn’t lose many votes. If you’re okay with that as the state of the Republican nominee’s campaign in the first week of August — “we probably didn’t lose many votes over this needless squabble” — then okay.
Here’s Khizr Khan proving that he either has superb instincts for a sharp, damaging political attack or that Team Hillary is on point in the talking points they’re feeding him. By the way, a source tells the Post that the “intervention” that’s supposed to involve Gingrich, Rudy Giuliani, and Reince Priebus might not happen but that a less formal meeting, possibly involving Trump’s family, might. Which makes sense strategically. Advice from the national chairman of the Republican Party can be safely ignored but advice from Ivanka must be weighed carefully.
Update: Trump’s not acceptable, but rest assured Newt’s still all for him.
“I am 100 percent for Trump,” Gingrich, who advises Trump and was under consideration to be his running mate, clarified in an email. He blasted Clinton for “the radicalism of her court picks” as well as “the extremism of her embrace” of the “[Bernie] Sanders wing,” and “her devastating record in foreign policy and national security,” which he said “make her unthinkable” to consider…
Asked by POLITICO whether he still personally finds Trump acceptable against Clinton, Gingrich responded: “Absolutely.”