Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker and a long-time ally of President Donald Trump, defended Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on Friday and criticized the President.
In an interview with Gingrich, Fox Business’ Maria Bartiromo played tape of Trump haranguing McConnell from the steps of his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey.
Midway through a 17-day vacation, Trump told McConnell to “get back to work” on huge agenda items like repealing the Affordable Care Act and negotiating an infrastructure package.
“It’s the Senate that’s the problem, isn’t it?” Bartiromo asked Gingrich.
“No! It’s not the Senate that’s the problem,” an exasperated Gingrich responded. “It’s the whole problem that’s the problem.”
“It’s trying to solve one-fifth of the American economy, life and death, in one gigantic bill, exactly what we said Obama did wrong, and recognizing it’s really, really, really hard to do,” he continued.
Gingrich joined a growing list of GOP elders to lend their sympathy to McConnell, the embattled political veteran with a frustratingly short list of accomplishments during the Trump presidency, perhaps due in part to the bombastic executive himself.
“Notice, as much as I admire the President, and as much as I think he’s handling North Korea well, I think he’s handling the Senate about equally badly,” Gingrich said, adding: “The president is on the field. You know? He’s not an owner sitting up in the box. He’s one of the players.”
Gingrich said Trump had erred in trying to achieve uniform support for the Obamacare repeal effort among Senate Republicans, rather than trying to pressure a couple of Democrats to support the bill.
“I disagree with this entire strategy, if it is a strategy,” he said, noting Trump would “do well to read Mitch McConnell’s book.”
Gingrich followed his criticism from Thursday on “Fox & Friends,” known to be a favorite program of the President’s, in which the former House speaker said Republicans’ failures had been “collective.”