On Sunday’s edition of ABC’s “This Week,” former Republican Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich appeared on a panel to discuss the results of President Trump’s first 100 days in office. While the panel agreed that the 100 day marker, established during the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration, is a PR ploy, Gingrich called attention to the fact that illegal crossings along the Mexican border are down by 75 percent, Justice Neil Gorsuch is sitting on the Supreme Court, and a Republican-controlled Congress has passed more than 20 important pieces of legislation so far in Trump’s term.
ABC News political analyst Matthew Dowd said that the good news for Trump is that his supporters remain in his corner, “The really bad news is, and this is a little fact that I looked up this morning, is no president has ever finished his first term going into a re-election with a higher approval rating than he had at his 100 days. That is problematic …” Gingrich interjected, telling the panel that they have misunderstood the basis of Trump’s electoral victory. “You guys all collectively lived through Trump knocking off the Republicans, Trump knocking off Hillary, being wrong about all of it at every stage. And you turn around and play the same old conventional wisdom.
“Donald Trump is the most divisive president since Abraham Lincoln. He represents an alternative world so while you have riots at places like Berkeley, he -- you have two parallel universes here. There's actually a very funny Megyn Kelly interview I did two weeks before the election, she's giving me all this polling data. And I said, look, there are two universes. Now if your universe is right, Hillary Clinton's president. If our universe is right, Donald Trump is president.”
Stephanopoulos agreed with Gingrich’s point but asked, “But how does it affect the governing? Can you govern effectively with 40 percent…”
“Sure,” said Gingrich. “Well, first of all, as you know, because you've done it, presidents are really powerful. Presidents who are willful and strong-willed and focused have enormous capability to move the system.
“But second, I have a very simple test. Reagan in his farewell address said I am so proud that together we created 19 million jobs. If Trump has the economy rolling in 2020, he'll get re-elected. I don't care what the current numbers are. If Trump doesn't have the economy rolling is 2020, he has a problem.”
Roland Martin of News 1 Now predicted that Trump’s supporters will soon “be crying, because his policies are going to hurt them the most...All you got to do is just wait for it, because those same folks are going to be crying a year from now.”
Gingrich praised Trump’s patience in politics. “He's very patient strategically. He has enormous energy tactically,” said the former Speaker. “But he's very -- go back and look at the polls, go back and look at what he went through to get to be president. This is a guy who said I can be president, everybody else laughed at him, literally at him.” As evidence of Trump’s patience, Gingrich predicted that Congressional Republicans will pass a health reform bill within a few weeks and that by next Friday they will pass a budget extension in order to prevent a government shutdown.
Gingrich defended Trump’s record by saying that the president has accomplished issues that matter to Trump’s supporters. ”Here's what I think you guys don't get, conservative Supreme Court justice. Done. Coming across the border down by I think 65 percent, 70 percent. That's a fact. Having a guy like John Kelly in charge of homeland security is very impressive if you're a conservative. The fact is that they have passed I think 28 bills. They have had 25 or 26 executive orders.
“If you're a normal Trump supporter, you're thinking, ‘OK getting his brains beaten out by the elite media, that's about right.’ But in fact he's getting a lot done. And you watch this contrast. And I'm really frankly very angry about it, the White House Correspondents' Dinner has brought in a person who is viciously anti-Republican, anti-Trump, anti-gun rights. And you're going to watch people who look at that, people in Ohio who look at that on C-SPAN and watch Trump's rally that night, which is very smart. And they're going to say, OK, which America do identify with? They're going to identify with Trump.”
Gingrich was referring to Hasan Minhaj, the Muslim son of immigrants from India who will emcee the coming White House Correspondents Dinner on April 29. A comedian, Minhaj appears on Comedy Central’s “Daily Show” alongside host Trevor Noah, a South African. In a 2016 appearances at the annual Radio and Television Correspondents Dinner, he gained notoriety for condemning Congress’ supposed inaction on gun control. Gingrich dubbed Minhaj, “Viciously anti-Trump.”
Stephanopoulos signalled that Democrats are in trouble nationally. “Basically by the anti-Trump fact, but one of the things we also saw in this poll, Matthew, you hinted at before, most Americans now, 67 percent, think the Democrats are more out of touch than Republicans.”
Analyst Dowd admitted that this is problematic for Democrats and that “every time Hillary Clinton shows up at a speech...it doesn't help the Democrats.” Noting that he grew up in Michigan (which Trump won), Dowd said he was one of the first people that saw that Trump would win the Republican nomination because of the support he saw there and in Texas. He suggested that talk about “elites, elites, elites,” a majority of the country has disapproved of Trump, and specified metropolitan areas including: Austin, Dallas, Houston, New Orleans, St. Louis, Kansas City, Cincinnati, and Cleveland.” Correspondent Martin pointed out: “It's urban-rural.”