Having been a loyal defender of Trump through the campaign – slamming the media's bias and Megyn Kelly's sex-addiction at one point – former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has confirmed today in an interview with McClatchy, that “I will not be in the Cabinet…I intend to be focused on strategic planning.”
McClatchy had contacted him for comment on whether his long ties to the Washington establishment might pose a problem with a Trump team that boasts of its outsider status and its promise to “drain the swamp” of Washington.
He did not say whether the decision not to be in the new government was his or Trump’s. The Trump transition team did not respond to requests for comment.
Since leaving Congress in 1999, Gingrich established a range of for-profit businesses that intersected with policy and politics in Washington. These included taking consulting fees from mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and speaking fees and support from the pharmaceutical industry.
Those past ties to the drug industry in particular might have raised alarms given Trump’s campaign criticism of the sector.
“The drug companies probably have the second or third most powerful lobby in this country,” Trump said in a Feb. 4 town hall gathering in Exeter, New Hampshire. “They get the politicians, and every single one of them is getting money from them.”
Which might explain Trump's decision not to take the establishment man on board.
However, on ABC’s “This Week,” Newt Gingrich volunteered just a month before the election that, “without the unending one-sided assault of the news media, Trump would be beating Hillary by 15 points.”
Well he nailed that! But he had some strong views on Sharish law… the former House Speaker exclaimed to Fox News' Hannity that those who believe in Sharia Law in the United States should be “deported.”
“Let me start where I am coming from and let me be as blunt and direct as I can be — western civilization is in a war. We should frankly test every person here who is of a Muslim background, and if they believe in Sharia, they should be deported,” Gingrich said.
“Sharia is incompatible with western civilization. Modern Muslims who have given up Sharia — glad to have them as citizens. Perfectly happy to have them next door. But we need to be fairly relentless about who our enemies are.”
Out of office, The Charlotte Observer reports that Gingrich has parlayed his fame and interests into a small fortune.
“He’s an opportunist. And we can see that through his entire political career … he echoes all sides of all major issues,” said Craig Holman, a veteran government affairs lobbyist for Public Citizen, a left-leaning watchdog for greater transparency in government.
Gingrich formed a complex web of businesses. He penned books, including both fictional accounts of the Battle of Gettysburg and non-fiction tomes such as Winning the Future. He hit the lecture circuit as well.
In a November 2011 interview, his longtime attorney Randy Evans told The Washington Post that Gingrich’s for-profit efforts netted revenue approaching $100 million over a decade. Evans did not return requests from McClatchy for comment.
In that same article, Gingrich acknowledged that his communications company at times earned him almost half a million dollars in speaking fees annually. “I was charging $60,000 a speech on the road, and I was doing 50 to 80 speeches a year,” Gingrich told the paper.