Newt Gingrich has praised Hillary Clinton for delivering a “spectacular” victory speech after being crowned the first woman ever to represent a mainstream political party in a U.S. presidential election.
The former House Speaker and reluctant Trump supporter also warned fellow Republicans not to underestimate the presumed Democratic nominee, adding that Clinton was not going to be a “pushover” in the run-up to polling day.
Appearing Wednesday in a video aired on Facebook Live, Gingrich said that Trump’s toned down, teleprompter speech on Tuesday night was “very fine.” But the former GOP presidential hopeful was quick to point out that Clinton’s victory proclamation was far more effective.
“Let me first say that I thought Hillary Clinton’s speech last night was very effective,” Gingrich said. “She gave a spectacular speech last night that laid out how she’s going to campaign, what she’s gonna to try to do. And I think that the Republicans in general and the Trump folks in particular are gonna have to really think through how they’re going to deal with it.”
According to Gingrich, dealing with Clinton will be no easy task.
“She has, of course, the FBI investigation and the scandals, and all those things weighing her down. But we should not assume that the Clintons have any track record of defeating themselves,” he said. “No conservative, no Republican should assume that she’s gonna be a pushover.”
Gingrich hasn’t been on terribly good terms with Trump in recent weeks.
Last week, the two heavyweights clashed over Trump’s racial attack on U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel.
Curiel is currently presiding over the case against Trump’s now-defunct real estate education venture, Trump University. Since shutting down in 2010, two class action lawsuits alleging fraud have been filed against the ill-fated institution.
But according to Trump, Curiel is unfit to offer a fair take on the case because of his Mexican heritage. Bearing in mind the presumed GOP nominee has issued a number of unwarranted and racially-motivated attacks on the Mexican people, Trump believes Curiel is inherently biased against him.
Republican leaders don’t seem to agree with Trump’s line of reasoning.
House Speaker Paul Ryan came out blasting on Tuesday, arguing that Trump’s statements were “the textbook definition of a racist comment.” Senator Lindsey Graham immediately followed suit, dismissing Trump and his comments as “un-American.”
Likewise, Newt Gingrich chimed in by asserting that the episode was “one of the worst mistakes Trump has made.”
“I don’t know what Trump’s reasoning was, and I don’t care,” Gingrich told the Washington Post. “His description of the judge in terms of his parentage is completely unacceptable.”
Trump instantly fired back at Gingrich, dismissing the critique as “inappropriate.”
Gingrich hesitantly endorsed Trump at the start of May, telling reporters that he had been torn over the issue because of his friendship with Ohio Governor John Kasich.
Yet, even after publicly offering the presumed GOP candidate his full support, Gingrich has since admitted that Trump has a lot to learn about politics.
According to pollsters, that lack of experience may have finally delivered a formidable campaign boost for Hillary Clinton.
Fresh figures revealed Tuesday night by Reuters/Ipsos found that just 34.7 percent of likely voters are now planning to back Trump in November. Meanwhile, 44.3 percent say they will be casting a vote for Clinton.
The forecast represents a stark contrast from a flurry of recent polls that placed the two presumed party nominees neck-and-neck. It also suggests Trump’s repeated stumbles are finally beginning to turn off his own party members.
Among likely Republican voters in Tuesday’s poll, 47.5 percent told researchers they’d be voting for Clinton. Only 34.4 percent of GOP supporters said they would stand behind Trump.
[Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images]