Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich scolded the media for trying to equate his negative assessment of just one of Donald Trump’s comments to the criticism surrounding the Republican presidential candidate as a whole.
Gingrich labeled a comment Trump made “inexcusable,” regarding Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who Trump argued cannot be impartial in the class action lawsuit against Trump University because he is of Mexican heritage.
However on Wednesday, Gingrich told CNN Trump was a “gifted amateur” who made “the kinds of mistakes that amateurs make,” but who is also “learning very, very fast.”
“He’s learned from it in the last two days and has taken very significant steps away from that and moved toward a more controlled, more civil approach,” Gingrich said. “This is what he’ll need to win the presidency.”
Gingrich rejected any attempt to conflate his comments about Trump’s actions with a negative assessment of Trump overall. He said reports that he called Trump an “absurd amateur” were taking his words out of context.
“I may have said something was an absurd amateur mistake,” Gingrich said, affirming his support for Trump. “Any effort to take one or two phrases out of the 90-minute dialogue and say, ‘Gee, Gingrich was anti-Trump,’ is just nonsense.”
Gingrich said Trump was not being racist in his comments, but said they were “inappropriate.”
On Wednesday, Trump was asked about Gingrich, who has been rumored to be on the short list of Trump’s potential vice presidential picks.
“Newt is a very talented guy. I don’t want to comment on what I’d consider him for. But Newt is a very talented guy, and great communication skills,” Trump said.