OCTOBER 27, 2016
The fallout from the jaw-dropping confrontation between Newt Gingrich and Fox News’ Megyn Kelly on Tuesday’s edition of “The Kelly File” continued to reverberate on the campaign trail on Thursday. It was one of the oddest televised dust-ups of the campaign, and the weirdest thing about it was that Donald Trump was nowhere to be found on the stage.
For some inexplicable reason, with only 12 days left to go before the election and with every campaigning day precious, Trump decided to leave the trail on Tuesday to show off to the press his new Doral golf course in Miami and on Wednesday to attend a ribbon-cutting ceremony for his new hotel in Washington. I have to ask the question: does Donald Trump even want to become President?
In Trump’s absence, the campaign sent Gingrich to plead Trump’s case with Megyn Kelly on Tuesday’s edition of Fox News’ “The Kelly File.”
The interview began as any fact-free encounter with Gingrich usually does. He boasted about how well Republicans are doing in early voting in Florida, Ohio and particularly Pennsylvania. (The fact that Pennsylvania doesn’t have early voting seems to have been lost on the former Speaker.) But when the subject of Trump’s sexual groping came up, things really got strange.
When Kelly started to pose the hypothetical question “If Trump is a sexual predator…”, but she never got to finish it. Enjoy the weirdness…
GINGRICH: “He’s not a sexual predator!”
KELLY: “OK, that’s your opinion. I’m not taking a position on this.”
GINGRICH: “You cannot say that. You cannot defend that statement. I’m sick and tired of people like you using language that’s inflammatory that’s not true.”
KELLY: “Excuse me, Mr. Speaker. You have no idea whether it’s true or not.”
GINGRICH: “And neither do you.”
KELLY: “That’s right. I’m not taking a position on it.”
GINGRICH: “Oh yes you are. When you use the words, you took a position. And I think it’s very unfair for you to do that, Megyn. I think that’s exactly the bias that people are upset by.”
KELLY: “I think your defensiveness speaks volumes, sir.”
Let’s take this in for a second. This is one of the leaders of the Republican Party attacking one of the top-rated hosts on Fox News. Fox News! Oh, do go on, Speaker Gingrich.
GINGRICH: “I went back through the tapes of your show recently. You are fascinated with sex, and you don’t care about public policy. That’s what I get out of watching you tonight.”
KELLY: “You know what, Mr. Speaker? I’m not fascinated by sex, but I am fascinated by the protection of women and understanding of what we’re getting in the Oval Office.”
Kelly closed out the segment with this zinger:
KELLY: “We’re going to have to leave it at that. And you can take your anger issues and spend some time working on them, Mr. Speaker.”
First of all, if you’re going to go on TV and give a woman a lecture on sex, Uncle Newtie might not be your ideal messenger. Gingrich, who along with Trump and surrogate Rudy Giuliani, constitute the 3-man membership of The Nine Wives Club, followed up the interview with an angry tweet claiming that he doesn’t have anger issues. Which is just what you do when you don’t have anger issues.
Unlike Clinton’s deep bench of effective surrogates, Trump basically has Gingrich and Giuliani. And all that they have proven so far in this campaign is that you don’t need the candidate in person for the campaign to go off the rails — his pair of surrogates can muck up the works perfectly well on their own.
The fact that the Gingrich story has now stretched into its third day stepped all over what was promising to be a good week for the Trump campaign. Whenever Trump shuts his mouth, his poll numbers tend to rise, and most recent polls have shown small Trump gains in Florida and Nevada, enough to turn those states from “lean Clinton” back to “tossup.”
So please Trump campaign — give us more Newt! Voters need to know who else is “fascinated by sex,” and only Newt has the answer.