OTR Interviews

Gingrich: Trump 'normalized' Cruz for GOP establishment

Former House Speaker and presidential candidate goes 'On the Record' on the likelihood of a contested convention, what's next for Donald Trump and Ted Cruz after the WI primary, and why there won't be a surprise nominee for the GOP


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


SEN. TED CRUZ, GOP PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Either before Cleveland or at the convention in Cleveland, together we will win a majority of the delegates and together we will beat Hillary Clinton in November.


DONALD TRUMP, GOP PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think we close it out before the convention. I think we actually close it out before the convention.

GOV. JOHN KASICH, GOP PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have had 10 contested Republican conventions where only three times did the leader get picked.

CRUZ: Where do the Rubio delegates and where do the Kasich delegates go? And I think they naturally come to us.


GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich is here.

Nice to see you, Mr. Speaker.


VAN SUSTEREN: Mr. Speaker, I have a quote here, supposedly yours, which reads as follows: "Zero possibility. Trump and Cruz are dumb enough to allow convention rule overhaul," meaning the changes which would allow for Kasich to be on the ballot.

GINGRICH: Well, Kasich's one opportunity on the ballot would be to get enough people in seven other states. He already has Ohio, to sign -- basically say they support him.

Remember, you are required by law to vote for the person who, say, carried your district to your state. But you are not required by law to not help nominate somebody else.

So if he could talk to these delegates they claim to have, and if he could get a majority of them, you don't have to win a majority, you have to assemble a majority, but he has to have 8 states.

VAN SUSTEREN: OK. That's the 2012 rule with the Romney convention.


VAN SUSTEREN: Does that rule bind now or will there be a new rules committee that will create and will decide either to go with that rule or not go with that rule?

GINGRICH: My only reply was yes. There will be a new rules committee. It could recommend new rules.

VAN SUSTEREN: But they're controlled by the Cruz and Trump campaign?

GINGRICH: The Cruz and Trump campaign have 80 percent of the delegates. The odds are they're not going to go, oh, please, let us make life harder for ourselves.

VAN SUSTEREN: That's where the zero possibility. They are not that stupid.

GINGRICH: Right. Now I will say if you look at the poll you had set up a minute ago, Kasich is running second in New York.

If Kasich were actually able to sustain that and actually able to pick up some delegates in New York, he begins to be a little bit more viable. But this whole argument that he is the most electable is undercut every time he doesn't win.

VAN SUSTEREN: OK. You said to my colleague over at the "Fox Business Network," Maria Bartiromo that Trump has now normalized Cruz. What do you mean?

GINGRICH: If Cruz was running without Trump, Cruz would be the guy the establishment would be totally opposed to because they didn't like Cruz. I mean, they really didn't like Cruz. But now that they are terrified of Trump, they have decided that they don't like Cruz, at least they could tolerate him.

And so you now see lots of people who are dealing with Cruz as sort of the acceptable, he is the normal candidate because he is a U.S. senator. You know, he understands the law. He's a lawyer. He knows how to talk like government.

Without Trump, Cruz would today be the conservative insurgent candidate and somebody else would be in the establishment position that Cruz occupies.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, a lot of people have said that Trump has not laid out his policies.

Has Trump laid out his policies? Whether you agree with him or not? Has he laid out his policies?

GINGRICH: He certainly told us about a lot of policies. You know, he wants to build a wall with Mexico. He wants the Mexicans to pay for it. He wants to deal in a very tough way in trade with key places like China.

He questions whether or not we should continue to allow our European allies to not pay for their defense and rely on us to protect them.

I mean, he has really raised a whole series of issues. Some of them jarring Washington very badly. But it's not fair to say that he has not been substantive. What he hasn't done, with the exception of the AIPAC speech, he has not given the kind of set piece structured speeches that you would like to see a potential president give that has a lot of substance and a lot of thought in its structure.

VAN SUSTEREN: So if people don't like -- some, his critics don't like the way he has done it, that he's actually laid out policy, but they don't like the way he has laid it out? The form?

GINGRICH: Well, I think -- look, I do think that there are people who become rabid when they think about Donald Trump and it's hard for them to get any incoming information.

So, no matter what he says, you know, I will bet almost nobody says he has no substance has read his AIPAC speech, which is actually a pretty substantive speech and a pretty serious speech. People may not like the fact that he is questioning the amount our European allies are doing. But the truth is George W. Bush and Donald Rumsfeld were questioning how much our European allies are doing because some of them aren't doing anything to defend themselves.

VAN SUSTEREN: So it's that they don't like Trump.

GINGRICH: They don't like Trump. They don't want to think about Trump. Therefore Trump (INAUDIBLE) anything and even if he did say something, he can't have said it because he is Trump.

VAN SUSTEREN: Mr. Speaker, always nice to be with you.

GINGRICH: Good to be with you.