Newt Gingrich, one of Donald Trump’s most stalwart surrogates and a finalist in the race for vice president, on Wednesday indicated that the Republican presidential nominee’s recent behavior and comments has made him an “unacceptable” choice for president.
“The current race is which of these two is the more unacceptable, because right now neither of them is acceptable,” Gingrich said in an interview with The Washington Post. “Trump is helping her to win by proving he is more unacceptable than she is.”
The former House Speaker warned Trump that he has little time left 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.”
Earlier on Wednesday, Gingrich characterized Trump’s response to criticism by the family of a fallen soldier and his dissing of Republican national leaders as “very self-destructive.”
“He has not made the transition to being the potential president of the United States, which is a much tougher league,” Gingrich said on Fox Business Channel’s “Mornings with Maria” program. ”People are going to watch you every single day. They’re going to take everything they can out of context, and he is not yet performing at the level that you need to.”
CNN reported on Tuesday that Trump’s campaign aides are increasingly frustrated by the candidate’s recent missteps. A Republican source was quoted by CNN as saying that some of Trump’s campaign staff and campaign manager Paul Manafort “feel like they are wasting their time,” given Trump’s recent comments.
Gingrich, Rudy Giuliani and RNC chairman Reince Priebus are apparently plotting an intervention with Trump to try to reset the campaign, NBC reported.
Campaign chief Paul Manafort, appearing on Fox News, disputed the report. “The campaign is focused and the campaign is moving forward in a positive way,” he said. The only need we have for an intervention is maybe with some media types who keep saying things that aren’t true. The candidate is in control of his campaign. The turmoil — this is another Clinton narrative that’s been put out there and that the media is picking up on. The campaign is in very good shape. We are organized. We are moving forward.”
Trump “has become such a good counter puncher that he is about to knock himself out,” Ari Fleischer, former Press Secretary to President George W. Bush and a member of the Republican Jewish Coalition, said on CNN’s Newsroom on Wednesday. “He has got to stop counter-punching people who are not running for president. He needs to focus on Hillary, and only Hillary. Now, he can throw in a little Barack Obama because Hillary would be Obama’s third term. He his hurting his own cause in a race that he can win. If he would focus on Hillary, if he’d focus on the economy, if he’d talk Obama and we don’t want a third term, he could win this race.”