Former Speaker of the House and presidential candidate Newt Gingrich startled the hosts of Fox News Channel’s Fox & Friends when he told them that they “invented” the Donald Trump presidential candidacy.
Gingrich appeared on the program Monday to discuss the Republican presidential race and how Trump’s candidacy has roiled the GOP establishment.
After some analysis about where the race currently stands, Gingrich said that the establishment is living in a “fantasy land” if they think that they are going to be able to stop Trump and his insurgent campaign.
Co-host Brian Kilmeade chimed in, saying that one of Mitt Romney’s big advantages (in 2012) was his money, and that this time, referring to Trump, “The billionaire is spending the least amount of money and running away with this thing.”
That gave Gingrich his opening.
“Well, that’s because of you guys. Donald Trump gets up in the morning, tweets to the entire planet at no cost, picks up the phone, calls you, has a great conversation for about eight minutes, which would have cost him a ton in commercial money, and meanwhile his opponents are all out there trying to raise the money to run an ad.”
Kilmeade responded that it was because “from day one he [Trump] made himself available to big and small [outlets],” while other candidates didn’t.
Gingrich didn’t buy that argument, firing back, “Look, you could say that Trump is the candidate Fox & Friends invented. He was on your show I think more than any other show.”
That was probably true in the early going, as Trump had a regular Monday morning phone interview with the show, which Gingrich said “was always a happy, positive conversation.”
Granted that Trump received more free air time from Fox & Friends and other Fox News programs than from other cable news networks, but he was great for their ratings and to say that they “invented” his candidacy is absurd.
At best, Fox & Friends may be guilty of helping to burnish Trump’s public image. But the real blame for the Trump candidacy, and the situation it has created, belongs to the Republicans who praised and embraced him as an outsider, only to find themselves struggling to defeat someone they badly underestimated.
Photo by Gage Skidmore