Columnist Damon Linker floated this idea half-heartedly on Twitter last night but a quick check of Google News reveals that no one is pushing it seriously. Why not? Seems like a decent match!
Newt Gingrich for Trump’s chief of staff.
— Damon Linker (@DamonLinker) December 11, 2018
I’m in a list-making mood today. The case for Newt:
1. His career’s over. No one with any serious prospects for professional advancement would take this thankless garbage job, which involves long hours, being berated constantly by a former game-show host, having your advice routinely ignored, and maybe being indicted eventually for something the boss did. Nick Ayers turned it down because he’s 36 and wants to run for office in Georgia. Newt’s 75, has already run for office in Georgia, and hasn’t held public office in 20 years. Even if he ends up in prison as a co-conspirator in some Trump scheme, how long would he serve, realistically?
2. He knows Trump. “The president really wanted someone he knows. He didn’t want to gamble,” said a source to Vanity Fair of Trump’s interest in Ayers. Trump tried having an establishment guy and then a military man as chief of staff. What he wants now is a crony, the more pugnacious the better to do battle with Mueller as Russiagate moves to its next phase. Giuliani’s in the same mold and is already part of the team; no doubt Chris Christie would already be there too if not for the fact that he sent Jared Kushner’s father to prison. Trump would be comfortable with Newt. And since it doesn’t really matter who his chief of staff is, as he’s going to run his office the way he likes, why not hire someone with whom he’s comfortable?
3. He knows impeachment. POTUS is thinking about what the new Democratic majority in the House might have in store for him. If you’re going to staff up, might as well do it with someone who’s been down this road:
Source close to WH tells me that POTUS, in his hunt for a new chief of staff, is particularly interested in @David_Bossie’s experience in Clinton impeachment given what he expects is coming down the pike.
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) December 11, 2018
If he wants an impeachment consigliere, why choose Bossie over the guy who presided as Speaker during Clinton’s impeachment? In fact, Gingrich is already offering Trump advice on impeachment via the printed page:
Former House speaker Newt Gingrich said Clinton’s experience in 1998, when the embattled president questioned the special prosecutor and warned of GOP overreach, is instructive for Trump and Republicans, showing them how to be both combative and confident amid chaos.
“You can’t have that many smart lawyers, with the full power of the government, and not have something bad come out,” Gingrich said of the special counsel’s team. “Mueller has to find something, like Trump jaywalked 11 times. The media will go crazy for three days, screaming, ‘Oh, my God! Oh, my God!’ ”
But, Gingrich said, “This isn’t a crisis moment for Trump or the party. Remember, we thought we had Clinton on the ropes, but Clinton kept smiling and his popularity went up.”
4. He knows Democrats. Gingrich is a former Speaker, knows Pelosi personally, and has relationships with all sorts of congressional members and staffers from his decades of being in and around Washington. He also knows firsthand how to get legislation passed, particularly when it requires compromising with Democrats. If Trump decides that he wants to try to make a few deals with Pelosi and Schumer, Gingrich would be better informed than most about how to approach that.
5. He knows scorched-earth politics. If, on the other hand, Trump has already concluded that the political well is poisoned and there are no deals to be had, well, Gingrich can run that operation too. It’s sort of his brand, frankly. “Trump has remarked on several occasions that his West Wing needs aides who are more politically adept,” claimed CNN in a report yesterday. A guy who midwifed the first Republican House majority in 40 years probably meets the threshold for “politically adept.”
6. He knows what it’s like to be yelled at by Trump. Remember?
— Newt Gingrich (@newtgingrich) December 22, 2016
Undercutting Trump publicly and then being chewed out by him is basically part of the job description here after John Kelly. Newt’s got that box checked too!
Now you’re going to say “Newt’s old news, he’s out of touch,” etc etc. Let me respond to that with a quote: “A senior White House official told me, in a sign of the depth of the current difficulties, that even former chief of staff Reince Priebus has been brought up as a possible replacement for Kelly.” You get what I’m saying here? No one wants this job. If you can find a candidate who’s even 20 percent qualified, leap at the chance. Newt is 20 percent qualified. Exit question: Exactly how much dirt on the Trump White House is John Kelly prepared to share, whether via leaks or a tell-all book, once he leaves? I’ll leave you with this to chew on.
Mr. Kelly, meanwhile, is said to be furious with Ms. Trump and Mr. Kushner. One senior administration official said that Mr. Kelly was known to have kept written notes about Mr. Kushner and Ms. Trump and the things that they had done or requested, which he conspicuously left on his desk in view of his staff.