During a interview with Hugh Hewitt, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich blasted Nancy Pelosi and called her attacks on Trump “utterly, totally irresponsible, dishonest”
“I think Pelosi has become despicable,” Gingrich said during the interview “I think that her comment the other day comparing President Trump to Nero fiddling while Rome burned was just utterly, totally irresponsible, dishonest, and counter to what Americans need.”
HH: My first guest joins us from Rome. I know he’s isolated there, but you never can turn off former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. Good morning, Mr. Speaker, how are you?
NG: I’m doing well. And luckily, we are isolated for the moment. And Callista is continuing to lead the embassy here at the Vatican. But it looks like the Italians may actually be very close to turning the corner. The number of new cases has been going down for the last week or so, and they’re still going, there’s still new cases, but it’s not nearly as bad as it was a few weeks ago.
HH: I’ve been worried about Ambassador Gingrich, your wife, and yourself, because you’re in the age demo as I am. What have you guys been doing? How have you guys locked yourselves in? You probably wrote three books, right?
HH: I mean, that’s like Newt’s…
NG: Yeah, that’s right. Yeah, for me, it’s okay, because I’m happily launching my, actually, it’s the first time I’ve ever done a virtual book launch for my new novel, Shakedown. So I’ve been doing a lot of TV. I had the unusual experience of doing The View by Skype, which is totally different. And I’m writing a book…
HH: They can’t hit you, at least. Yeah.
NG: That’s right. No, but it’s fun. I have a good relationship with Whoopi, despite the difference in our ideology. But we, I’m doing a new book that’s going to come out in June sort of framing the election this fall. And frankly, I was really rolling, and then of course, this virus blew up. And so you’ve had to stop and rethink everything. It’s been a fascinating experience.
HH: It’s actually a time to rethink, you’re a futurist, Newt Gingrich. I know that. A lot of people know that. Yes, you write Shakedown, you write a bunch of great books. You are a commentator. You were the Speaker. But you’ve always looked 50, 100 years out. Admiral Stavridis, first guy, I think, to the bell predicting this, Tom Cotton first elected official predicting this. How long ago did you worry about pandemics?
NG: Well, I’ve always worried about pandemics. We used to run war games when I had the Center for Health Transformation. We put together a very large war game on a biological breakout looking at that kind of a problem. So I’ve had a very long experience with thinking about pandemics. And in this case, the Chinese made it dramatically worse. The fact that they wouldn’t tell the truth, they wouldn’t let people in to see what’s going on, they have cost the planet thousands and thousands of lives and trillions of dollars. And it’s just astonishing what bad citizens they were in terms of dealing with this.
HH: The United States death toll went over 4,500 overnight, and I’ll update people on the latest, although there’s a lot of good news, because the combined force of American and world science is focused like a laser on this virus, beating it, both testing for it and then eradicating it. And we’ll talk about that. But I first want to talk to you about your experience as Speaker during an impeachment. Nancy Pelosi was the Speaker during an impeachment. A question on the table right now is whether or not impeachment impacted pandemic preparation in Article I and Article II. What say you, Mr. Speaker?
NG: Well, I think, look, I think it certainly impacted it. You can’t, it both impacted the Congress, because they were off playing political games, not looking at the world as it was evolving. And it had to take some energy away from the President, and I don’t care how tough you are or how disciplined you are. But in the long run, that wasn’t the problem. I mean, the fact is as early as, I think, January 6th or 7th, we offered to help the Chinese. And Dr. Birx has been very accurate about that. She said given the information coming out in early January, we thought this would be about the size of SARS. And none of us had any indication as professionals that this was so big, it was going to be a pandemic. And that’s because the Chinese wouldn’t share the information. Now what you’ve seen in the last three or four weeks is an astonishing mobilization of American system. I mean, the free enterprise part of it, the companies coming to bear, the new developments, the new testing systems, there are a hundred different good things happening. And we will presently drown the virus in the scale of the American response, something no other country in the world could do.
HH: Now Speaker Gingrich, I have been an advocate for, I’m glad to hear the President is considering the moral equivalent of war bonds, pandemic bonds, because like World War II and World War I, you’re a historian, you know about this, the average citizen got to participate. They could buy a $25 dollar bond for $20 bucks, and they could be a part of the effort to turn it around and to build public health infrastructure. Do you think we ought to have a similar program right now?
NG: Yeah, I think it’s, they should be able to structure it so it’s basically very inexpensive to manage. And it ought to be priced at such a level that every American, including young people, could have a piece of this. You know, it’s the liberty bonds in World War I, again, the Victory Bonds in World War II.
NG: It did give people, I actually remember as a kid where you would get stamps and put them in this thing, and you could get them for like 50 cents or a dollar. So when you’re in second, third, fourth grade, you’re learning the habit of saving. And then when the book filled up, you’d take it and you’d actually get a $25 dollar bond. And it made you feel like you were part of bigger world, and that you had a role to play.
HH: And that you, in this case, would be helping to defeat the virus that is going to move into the third world. I’ve got to ask you as a futurist now. I’m making you change hats quite a lot. We are hit hard in the United States, but when it reaches, I think of the slums of Kenya, I think of the favelas in Brazil, I think of the shattered country of Venezuela, it’s going to be a killer.
NG: It is, and I think the President was correct the other day to say look, as rapidly as we can build up our production, we’re going to start sharing it. He’s already sharing it with Italy. We’re going to share it with other countries. And we ought to have something the equivalent of the Marshall Plan looking at all of African and all of Latin America. And I think they, frankly, ought to take over and rent a number of the cruise liners which they could get right now at a bargain rate and turn them into floating hospitals like the two Navy ships, because all along the African coast, for example, along large parts of Latin America, they’re just going to be overwhelmed. I mean, they don’t have a public health system that can deal with this. And what’s going to happen is we’re going to develop better and better therapies very fast. We’re going to develop better and better testing very fast. The trick will be to produce it in such huge quantities that you can get it out to these countries, and you’ll save tens of millions of lives, and you will reestablish America as the philanthropic good neighbor of the world in a way which would be enormously helpful for the next 20 or 30 years.
HH: I agree. Bonds could go to that, too. Let me close by asking you, Mr. Speaker, about the, your successor, Nancy Pelosi, and Leader Mitch McConnell. I believe it’s been Mitch McConnell’s finest hour and will be remembered as such negotiating the passage of a 96-0 vote on a $2.2 trillion dollar bill. But Speaker Pelosi has not been, in my view, a constructive force. How do you assess these two most important members of Article I?
NG: Well, look, I think McConnell both in getting all the judges through and in getting the enormous aid package through has been magnificent. He’s extraordinary, one of the most important Senate leaders in American history. I think Pelosi has become despicable. I think that her comment the other day comparing President Trump to Nero fiddling while Rome burned was just utterly, totally irresponsible, dishonest, and counter to what Americans need. Americans need to come together to defeat the virus. They don’t need to have petty politicians trying to tear the country apart, or for that matter, petty newsmen at these press conferences trying to tear the country apart. We need to figure out how are we going to save American lives, beat the virus, and help the rest of the planet beat the virus, and Nancy Pelosi is an absolute negative figure dragging down the country.
HH: My last question. Evaluate the President’s performance for us.
NG: Well, my newsletter tomorrow is going to describe the commander-in-chief as entrepreneur, which I think is totally outside the comprehension of the news media. This is one of the, this is the only pure entrepreneur ever to be president. He is extraordinarily energetic. He is learning at an extraordinary pace. And he’s an historic figure, and I think that by the time this is over, as he defeats the virus, pivots and relaunches the economy, people will realize how important it was that we had Donald Trump at this moment in American history.
HH: And a final word, Mr. Speaker, about Shakedown. You have a new book out, People are buying books to read. I didn’t know you did fiction. I didn’t know you did, I mean, I knew you did historical fiction. I didn’t know you did thriller fiction.
NG: Well, yeah, we put together, Pete Earley, who used to be a Washington Post writer, and I did, have done a couple of books now. This one has the Iranians and the Russians deciding they’re going to try to set off a nuclear weapon in a submarine to create a tidal wave off of Baltimore and Washington, and two American heroes, an FBI agent and a Navy SEAL who are trying to stop them. If you’re tired or worrying about the virus, and you’re tired of politics, Shakedown is a great way to curl up for an evening and then be off on an adventure.
HH: Mr. Speaker, Shakedown’s on my list. Thank you for joining us.
NG: Thank you.
HH: Our best to the Ambassador. Stay healthy. Stay, and our hello to the Pope when she sees him. Prayers from America. Thank you.
NG: Thank you.