Newt Gingrich said Wednesday that Donald Trump’s “drain the swamp” catch phrase was “cute” but that the President-elect now disclaims it.
During an interview with NPR’s “Morning Edition” Wednesday, host Rachel Martin asked if the former House speaker had been “working in the swamp, to use Donald Trump’s language.”
“I’m told he now just disclaims that. He now says it was cute, but he doesn’t want to use it anymore,” Gingrich said, referring to the phrase. “I’d written what I thought was a very cute tweet about ‘the alligators are complaining,’ and somebody wrote back and said they were tired of hearing this stuff.”
Later, Gingrich added: “I personally, as a sense of humor, like the alligator and swamp language, and I think it vividly illustrates the problem, because all the people in this city who are the alligators are going to hate the swamp being drained. And there’s going to be constant fighting over it. But, you know, he is my leader and if he decides to drop the swamp and the alligator I will drop the swamp and the alligator.”
On Monday, Gingrich drew scrutiny for asserting during an interview on “The Diane Rehm Show” that Trump would be able to simply pardon members of his family who broke anti-nepotism laws by working in his administration. Richard Painter, who was President George W. Bush’s chief White House ethics lawyer from 2005 to 2007, responded that “If the pardon power allows that, the pardon power allows the president to become a dictator.”
Martin asked Gingrich about the presidential pardon on Wednesday. Gingrich defended his comment by arguing that the Constitution “gives the president of the United States an extraordinarily wide grant of authority to use the power of the pardon. I’m not saying he should. I’m not saying he will.”