Newt Gingrich tells GOP Congress to fight for Trump, or else Democrats will take power – Los Angeles Times

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May 17, 2017, 8:45 a.m.

reporting from washington

Newt Gingrich tells GOP Congress to fight for Trump, or else Democrats will take power

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a close ally of President Trump, said it’s time for Republicans in Congress to either “surrender or fight” for the president. But surrender, he said, would bring House Democrats and their leader, Nancy Pelosi, to power.

“Republicans in general — not just Trump — are in a crossroads,” Gingrich said in an interview. “And if they don’t get their act together, Pelosi is going to become speaker and she’s going to impeach Trump. That’s how big the stakes are.”

“You think the hard left would do anything less?” added the man who as Speaker in the 1990s led House Republicans’ impeachment of Bill Clinton.

Gingrich’s rally ’round advice is in stark contrast to that of some on the right who say this is a moment for Republicans to challenge the president, especially after the latest leaks opened Trump to questions of obstruction of justice. Gingrich has been one of Trump’s most stalwart supporters. His wife, Callista, is expected to be nominated as ambassador to the Vatican soon.

Other Republicans have been reticent to speak up in Trump’s defense. But Gingrich was fired up and in a chatty mood, speaking by phone during a layover in Frankfurt after several days of speaking engagements in Kiev. He was infuriated with the media, particularly CNN, which he said is giving the rest of the world the impression that “America is terrifying” right now.

He said questions from his foreign audiences included “How close are we to a dictatorship?”

Gingrich had advice for Trump and his advisors: Get tougher on the media. He said the White House should cancel briefings  — an idea Trump himself has floated — and refuse to respond to damaging stories, which he labeled “garbage.”

“The reason they’re having a tough time in the White House is that they keep kidding themselves about the environment they’re working in,” Gingrich said. “If you’re surrounded by lions and hyenas, feeding them just increases their hunger.”

Yet Gingrich worried that his Republican allies in Congress are growing wobbly.

“They’re totally rattled,” he said, citing local town hall meetings disrupted by the “hard left,” other forms of intimidation and even death threats. 

“You either decide you’re going to cave and let the left own America,” Gingrich said, “or you’re going to fight.”

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