Newt Gingrich stands inside the elite group of possible Donald Trump vice presidential nominees. That group would include Chris Christie and, according to the presumptive nominee himself, another nine or so yuuuge prospects. Several of these names are still rumored to be in contention, although Trump may feel that Christie would be better suited as a manservant. One of the more prominent names circulating lately is Newt Gingrich, who appeared alongside Trump this week in Ohio.
Gingrich must have pinned his hopes on the VP slot because he and Trump are both acting different after the Dallas police shooting. Everyone expected Trump to tweet something terrible after the sniper-filled massacre or simply congratulate himself like he did with the Orlando shootings. But that didn’t happen. Instead, he quietly published a somber statement that read, “Our nation has become too divided. Too many Americans feel like they’ve lost hope. Crime is harming too many citizens. Racial tensions have gotten worse, not better. This isn’t the American Dream we all want for our children.” He also tried to grab a photo op with the NYPD, but let’s focus on the positives.
Trump must have found a mentor for tragedy-appropriate behavior after the Orlando debacle and subdued his own tendency to show off “my African-American.” There’s another surprise coming too. Newt Gingrich streamed a Facebook Live session after the Dallas shootings with a very reasonable take on racial disparities:
“It took me a long time, and a number of people talking to me through the years to get a sense of this. If you are a normal, white American, the truth is you don’t understand being black in America and you instinctively under-estimate the level of discrimination and the level of additional risk.
“To the degree you’re an African-American you are raising your teenage boys to be vary careful in obeying the police because literally their lives are at risk and they can see it on television. At the same time, if you’re a normal Caucasian, you don’t see that, that’s not part of your experience. And somehow, we have to be able to have a conversation and a dialogue where the mutual experiences start to say, ‘Gee, if that’s true, under what circumstances can we fix it?’ On both sides.”
Well, it’s hard to fault the guy for issuing a rational viewpoint on such a divisive issue, and perhaps Gingrich woke up and suddenly knew the meaning of structural racism. However, he has quite a history of contrary statements, so it’s hard to immediately believe in his sincerity. Also, he’s schmoozing with Trump, who just happened to wake up and see the light too. Or maybe this sudden shift reflects the current state of race relations in America. If Newt Gingrich acknowledges a problem, that says a lot. But folks aren’t buying it and are sending little reminders on Twitter that something must be amiss.