Saturday, October 22, 2016

Mr. Gingrich’s ‘Big Trump’ - The New York Times

By Teresa Tritch:

t’s no big surprise that Newt Gingrich is still a gung-ho adviser to the Trump campaign. Mr. Gingrich has long espoused political views similar to Donald Trump’s.

But there is more to the alliance than a meeting of the minds. Mr. Gingrich understands that Mr. Trump appears to be losing not because his message has failed to resonate with Americans but because he is a poor messenger.

“I don’t defend him [Trump] when he wanders off,” Mr. 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.”

With statements like that, Mr. 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.

In the 1990s, Mr. Gingrich spearheaded the antigovernment movement. As House speaker from 1995 to 1999, he invoked racial stereotypes about African-Americans during debates over welfare reform.

During his unsuccessful bid for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012, he repeatedly called President Obama the “food stamp president.”

Mr. Gingrich played to birther movement sentiments in 2010 when he said that Mr. Obama exhibited “Kenyan, anticolonial behavior.”

And now, he is extolling the virtues of “big Trump.” There is a pattern here, and it does not bode well for American politics.

A version of this editorial appears in print on October 22, 2016, on page A22 of the New York edition with the headline: Mr. Gingrich’s ‘Big Trump’.

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