Is Newt Gingrich going to be Trump’s pick for VP? Fox News may have dropped a hint today when it decided to suspend Gingrich’s contributor agreement with the network based on “media speculation” that Newt could be the pick. The question is why Fox News waited until now when its own hosts have been speculating about Gingrich as Trump’s VP since May. From CNN:
On Tuesday afternoon, a statement from the network said, “Fox News Channel has mutually agreed to suspend its contributor agreement with Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich effective immediately.”
“Due to the intense media speculation about Gingrich’s potential selection as Donald Trump’s vice presidential candidate, we felt it best to halt his contributor role on the network to avoid all conflicts of interest that may arise,” executive vice president for news Jay Wallace said.
CNN notes that host Sean Hannity has been promoting Gingrich as a possible VP pick and said Monday, “I wouldn’t be happy with anyone but Newt.” That’s an awkward position for Gingrich and for the network to be in, so maybe that pushed them in to this decision.
Gingrich hasn’t said anything directly, but he did retweet this promo for an appearance on the Sean Hannity show which raises the question:
— KNSS Radio (@knssradio) July 12, 2016
But the real question is why Fox decided to make this move now, a couple days before Trump announces his pick. If this is about “media speculation,” Bill O’Reilly was speculating Gingrich would be the pick back in mid-May.
O’Reilly opened a segment featuring Gingrich by noting, “Trump says he has narrowed his VP choice down to five individuals….” Later in the interview O’Reilly says, “I think you’re going to get it. I think that he’s going to choose you.” O’Reilly added, “I want the audience to know I don’t know that, nobody has said that to me—but I do know who he’s considering just by deduction and I think he will select you.”
If Fox News watches its own programming, it has known for months that Gingrich was on the short list for VP and possibly even at the top of that short list. If they wanted to avoid conflicts of interest based on media speculation, they could have ended his contributor arrangement back then. The fact that they didn’t do so then but have done so now does makes it seem a little more likely that Gingrich is about to be announced as Trump’s pick. That’s still speculation of course, but it would make some sense of Fox News’ belated decision.