Newt Gingrich is fueling speculation that he could be Donald Trump’s vice president pick, with the pundit and former Republican Party leader leaving his post at Fox News just days ahead of Trump making his official selection of a running mate.
There has been speculation for weeks that Gingrich could join Trump on the Republican ticket. Gingrich was one of the earliest Republicans to embrace Trump and his unlikely run to become the party’s presumptive nominee, and the former House Speaker has even served as an unofficial adviser for Trump.
Party insiders claimed that Gingrich is high among Trump’s potential picks for vice president, and speculation grew on Tuesday when Fox News announced that Gingrich would be leaving his position as a contributor. Gingrich left a previous contract with Fox News in May, 2011, when Gingrich announced that he would be running for the Republican nomination in 2012. He re-joined Fox News in October of 2015.
In the announcement, Fox News noted that Gingrich’s potential to become Trump’s running mate led them to suspend his contract.
“Fox News Channel has mutually agreed to suspend its contributor agreement with Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich effective immediately,” said a statement from Jay Wallace, the executive vice president of news at Fox News, via the Huffington Post. “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.”
Newt Gingrich has said publicly that he would seriously consider a place next to Donald Trump on the Republican ticket, and he told Fox News last week that he was being vetted for the position.
Gingrich would likely be the biggest name Trump could select as a running mate. A number of other high-profile Republicans have already taken their names out of consideration, with fears among party insiders that a big defeat in November could taint anyone willing to stand beside Trump atop the ticket.
And Gingrich could be a major boost to Trump within his own party, as a Morning Consult poll released Monday found that 21 percent of Republican voters would be more likely to back Trump with Gingrich on the party’s ticket.
There are some other Republicans still in the running, however. Indiana Governor Mike Pence is reportedly top among the potential picks, and will be appearing with Trump on Tuesday night at a rally in Indiana.
But Trump, ever the unconventional candidate, is also reportedly considering at least one prominent Democrat for the position. Michael T. Flynn, a retired general and frequent critic of Barack Obama, is seen as a dark horse candidate to become Trump’s vice president pick.
The Washington Post noted that Flynn would have the chops to shore up one of Trump’s major weaknesses — foreign policy. Flynn served as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency and could give Trump a major presence as well as cross-over appeal to Democratic voters who could be swayed to his side.
“The turn toward a military figure is being driven by Trump himself rather than by his advisers, the people said, and comes as the real estate mogul is telling his friends that national unrest may demand a ‘tough and steady’ presence alongside him on the ticket.
“In Flynn, they added, Trump thinks he would have a partner whom he trusts, based on their close working relationship over the course of the campaign on policy. And he likes the image of a businessman and a general coming to Washington as outsiders.”
Newt Gingrich and the list of other potential candidates will likely learn soon who Donald Trump picks as his running mate. The Republican presumptive nominee said he will announce his selection within a few days, noting that he already had someone “really good” in mind.
[Photo by John Minchillo/AP Images]