Newt Gingrich: Would be hard to turn down VP offer

Former House speaker on speculation over Donald Trump's vice presidential pick


This is a rush transcript from "Your World," July 12, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SANDRA SMITH, GUEST HOST: A programming note for you right now, our network just releasing this statement.

"Fox News Channel has mutually agreed to suspend its contributor agreement with former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, effective immediately, due to the intense media speculation about Gingrich's potential selection as Donald Trump's vice presidential candidate. We felt it best to halt his contributor role on the network to avoid all conflicts of interest that may arise."

And here he is, former Speaker of House Newt Gingrich, with us now on the veepstakes and all the speculation.


SMITH: Will we be hearing something soon? What do you know?

GINGRICH: Well, I don't know much. My guess is you're going to hear either tomorrow or Thursday, certainly no later than Friday, because they are going to want to dominate the weekend news with the new vice presidential selection.

And I have no idea who he's going to pick. I think clearly Governor Pence is deeply in the running. I think Governor Christie is still in the running. And I have been part of the process. So, we will see what happens over the next two or three days.

It's a little bit like "The Apprentice." You find out sooner or later who is the last one standing is.

SMITH: Well, you have been more than just part of the process. You have been at or near the top of the short list that most have been talking about.

Is it still in your interest? Is that still something you would be interested in doing, if asked?

GINGRICH: Well, look, as a citizen, if you had an opportunity to help lead the country, I don't see how you could turn it down. I think you would have to -- you would want to work out the details of what it means. But it would be very, very hard for a citizen who cares deeply to not undertake an opportunity to really help fix things in the country.

SMITH: Well, you have known Donald Trump for quite some time. You talk to him. You know his strengths and his weaknesses. What do you think is most important in his choice for VP?

GINGRICH: Well, I think two things.

One, it has to be a person who is capable of being president. And certainly the people he's currently talking about are all capable of being president. And, second, there has to be a chemistry. In the end, this is a very personal decision by Donald Trump. He has got to look at people.

And he may like all of us. He may think of all are pretty competent. But he's got to say, if I am going to be president for the next four to eight years, if I'm going to have somebody next to me for the next four to eight years, what is the right chemistry? Who do I need in the room to help me be as effective as possible? That's a very personal decision, and nobody else can make it for him.

SMITH: Ed Rollins said the VP pick, as far as how important it is, it can help a little, it can hurt a lot.

So, it's worthy of a lot of speculation, as we do await some sort of announcement heading into next week at the convention. That being said, Speaker of the House, we saw the president today stand literally hand in hand with the first lady.

And President Obama, former President George Bush, they stood together in the city of Dallas as they grieved, and as they mourned the loss of those five police officers. What did you make of the president's response?

GINGRICH: Well, I read his speech, and I thought it was a good speech, because President Obama knows how to make -- give good speeches.

I thought it drifted off from the police back to other problems that I might not have necessarily done. But I think it's very sad. Gallup came out this morning and said that we may be at the worst -- the lowest state of our relationship between the races in 17 years.

And I just think there's something really sad when you have had the first African-American president, a very articulate person, a man who speaks back in Philadelphia in 2008, was historic and sweeping in its offer of a more unified America.

And yet we have gotten the opposite. And I think, because he's so liberal, and because his allies are so liberal, I think it's very hard for the president to deal with the real core underlying problems. And, as a result, despite the good speeches, I think that he's not likely in the end to leave office having brought us together.

SMITH: Well, as we do face those problems, we continue to see protests in U.S. cities across this country, and not only do we see the protests, but we see these mounting threats to our police.

Speaker, do you have any ideas of how we're going to combat this problem?

GINGRICH: We should make it illegal to threaten the police. I think somebody says, kill cops, frankly, should go to jail. I think we have to draw a very sharp line here.

Advocating violence against the police is advocating violence against the very fabric of our society. The police, domestically, the military overseas are the key patterns to keep us safe. And I think we have to be very tough with people who threaten our policemen.

SMITH: All right.

And we also saw the testimony from Attorney General Loretta Lynch today on Capitol Hill. The decision, as we now know, is in the hands of the DOJ whether or not to pursue a perjury investigation, Speaker, against Clinton.  What does it mean, what are the optics if the DOJ says no?

GINGRICH: You know, when you watch from Bill Clinton visiting the attorney general on her airplane, to Hillary Clinton saying she would probably reappoint her as attorney general, to her, over 74 times today, Catherine Herridge told me, over 74 times today, she refused to answer a question, you look at all that, no wonder the American people think Washington is corrupt and Washington is sick, and no wonder they think the fix is in.

I think this is a very, very alarming situation. I don't see how you can have an attorney general who refuses 74 times to answer questions in front of a congressional committee. I don't see how you can have an attorney general who meets in private for 39 minutes with somebody who is under investigation, which Bill Clinton is.

The whole thing just stinks.

SMITH: Well, to be clear, she was asked about that private meeting with the former president on her plane, and she said, as she has stated before, that it was merely a social conversation. The investigation was never discussed.

But I could leave it up to you and those who can discuss it whether or not that even matters, Speaker.

GINGRICH: Look, the very appearance of the attorney general of the United States meeting with somebody who is under investigation just a few days -- and think about the sequencing. His wife gets interrogated on a Saturday morning at her home for about three-and-a-half-hours. Sunday is a day off.

Monday is a federal holiday. And by Tuesday, the FBI has absorbed three- and-a-half-hours of testimony and Comey holds a hearing, holds a press conference in which, for 14 minutes, he explains why she should be indicted, and for two minutes explains why he's not going to indict her.

And the whole thing just is the sort of reason that the people of America believe that the city of Washington is corrupt and why they believe that the system has to be very dramatically changed.

SMITH: Well, we heard from many colleagues of yours today and members of Congress who said that Attorney General Lynch deflected and dodged most of her questions, as you mentioned.

What do you make of that? This...


SMITH: When you look at the anger that we see from the American people about government and their trust of government, and then you see our attorney general not willing to answer questions to clarify that investigation and that meeting, where does that leave us?

GINGRICH: Well, it leaves us with a majority of the American people, I think somewhere 57, 58 percent now believe that Hillary should be indicted.

It leaves us with the majority of American people believing that the attorney general is, in fact, not doing her job. She swears an oath of office. It's not an oath of loyalty to the president. It's not an oath of loyalty to Hillary Clinton. It's an oath of office in which she swears loyalty to the Constitution of the United States. She is clearly -- the attorney general is clearly failing to meet her oath of office.

SMITH: It was tough, and that room certainly had some heated exchanges today and some choice words from members of Congress.

Former Speaker Newt Gingrich, good to have you, sir.

GINGRICH: Good to be with you.

SMITH: Maybe we will see you and hear something about you or somebody else in the next couple of days.

GINGRICH: We will see.

SMITH: We will see.

All right, thank you, sir.

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