OTR Interviews

Gingrich: Trump big in every way, world needs someone strong

Newt Gingrich goes 'On the Record' on the GOP battle for Iowa and NH, what's behind the Trump phenomenon


This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," January 6, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Now to campaign trail. The Iowa caucus, 26 days away. The New Hampshire primary, well, that's 34 days away.

Former speaker of the House and 2012 GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich goes ON THE RECORD.

Nice to see you, Mr. Speaker.


VAN SUSTEREN: OK. So who is going to win Iowa?

GINGRICH: Probably either Cruz or Trump.

VAN SUSTEREN: What does Cruz have to do to pass Trump because Trump is winning in the polls in Iowa?

GINGRICH: Well, I think Cruz is doing the right things. He's out on a bus. He's out there going to small town to small town. And this is a real test between the modern politics of tweeting, calling in to TV shows and the traditional politics of being out there, meeting people, in their local communities.

You know, Trump is a phenomenon, whether he can get people to turn out, we don't know. There is a belief that Cruz probably has a better turnout mechanism. It's pretty clear the race in Iowa right now is those two guys.

VAN SUSTEREN: Why is Trump a phenomenon? What is it about him?

GINGRICH: Well, I'm doing a column this week on "The Art of the Deal," the book he wrote back in the 80s, because I read it over Christmas and found it was very helpful.

Trump here is very big in every way. I mean, he is big financially. He is big in his ideas. He is big in his aggressiveness. He's physically big. And I think that communicates to a country.

If you are a typical American, you recently have seen the Saudis and Iranians going head-to-head. The world markets are falling for 3 straight days. The North Korean setting up a hydrogen weapon. You now have reports of various immigrants in Germany who are raping and molesting women.

You know, all these things are going on around you and you think the world is losing its mind. I want somebody really strong. And in comes Donald. And Trump, he looks really strong. He may not be totally what they believe in, but he looks strong enough to try it out. And I think there is almost like Andrew Jackson, a very substantial part of the American people saying I would rather take a risk on him than on the current system continuing to decay.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, fast forward. Let's assume that he wins the GOP nomination. It's now August. Does the GOP establishment get behind him 100 percent?


VAN SUSTEREN: Yes, you think so?

GINGRICH: Yes, because the alternative is Hillary and Bill Clinton.

VAN SUSTEREN: And so you have no doubt in your mind that people won't just sort of stay home, the people that can --


GINGRICH: I think people -- when the race gets down to everything we're learning about Hillary Clinton; the degree to which she has used the State Department to take care of Bill; the amount of money that poured through with people doing business with her; the degree to which she has lied about virtually everything, the degree to which she had secrets on her emails; the degree to which she is lying about Benghazi.

Take the total picture and think to yourself, do you really want this in the White House? And I think at least for our party and for our base, the answer is going to be overwhelmingly no. And the people are going to say whoever the Republican nominee is, I am for them.

VAN SUSTEREN: Anybody but. But, of course, the -- a lot of people on the Democratic Party don't believe any of that and think that all the things that you just listed are sort of just the Republican attack on Secretary Clinton.

GINGRICH: People have wilful belief in fantasies and that's one of them.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, New Hampshire. So New Hampshire, Donald Trump is doing pretty well there, but you got some of the second tier. You've got people like Governor Chris Christie. Governor Kasich both doing well there.

GINGRICH: Well, this is one of the fascinating parts to this story. If you didn't have Trump and Cruz, I think you would have a much more open story. What I can't figure out is how do you get past both Trump and Cruz. So what you have is the layer below Rubio, Christie, Kasich, fighting each other to try to get to be number three. Not to try to be number two. To try to get to be number three. And I think that's a very interesting phenomenon.

VAN SUSTEREN: You know, to Cruz, President Obama said he was a first term senator with no experience. Cruz get hit with that?

GINGRICH: Sure he gets hit with it some. Rubio gets hit with it some.

VAN SUSTEREN: And Rand Paul?

GINGRICH: And, of course, Rand Paul. And, of course, you had, you know, Trump who hasn't even been a senator. So we want to talk about -- but this is a year where people are going, oh, I'm so glad you don't have any experience.

I mean, I have never -- look, I have never seen anything like it in my life. I was talking to Rick Santorum a while ago and we had a long year together in a campaign in 2012. And I said, if I were running, I would not have a clue how to function in this environment, given what's going on.

VAN SUSTEREN: I guess we can agree it's never dull. Not dull.

Anyway, Mr. Speaker, thank you, sir.

GINGRICH: Great to be with you.