Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich on Thursday adamantly denied that he’s being considered for White House chief of staff, shooting down speculation that surged in the press after he was spotted visiting 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue a day earlier.
Speaking on “Fox & Friends,” Gingrich said he and his wife Callista were merely there looking at the Christmas decorations.
He noted the press spotted him and “that promptly jumped to ‘Oh, are you being interviewed?’
“No, I was actually just wandering around looking at decorations,” he insisted. “… I was there as an American citizen looking at one of the most famous of American buildings."
But that doesn’t mean the loquacious Washington figure doesn’t have some advice for President Trump, as he scrambles to find a replacement for outgoing Chief of Staff John Kelly.
“I don’t think you can ever impose order on Donald Trump. He is a unique entrepreneurial personality,” Gingrich, a Fox News contributor, said, but added the chief of staff pick must have a “very strong-willed personality.” A “weaker person,” he counseled, will lose control of the building.
A host of names have swirled as possible candidates, as Trump says he’s looking at up to a dozen people who want the job – despite reports of a struggle to find a successor after the favorite, Vice President Pence Chief of Staff Nick Ayers, pulled out of consideration.
Names including Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, former top campaign official David Bossie and even ex-New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie continue to be floated.
One candidate now out of the running, though, is Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., the House Freedom Caucus leader who was briefly under consideration.
"Congressman Mark Meadows is a great friend to President Trump and is doing an incredible job in Congress," White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a brief statement Wednesday evening. "The President told him we need him in Congress so he can continue the great work he is doing there."
"I've had the best job in the world, representing my constituents of western North Carolina and working alongside President Trump these last two years to give the forgotten men and women of America a voice in their government," Meadows said in a statement of his own. "I'm fully committed to continuing to both of those roles. I know the President has a long list of tremendous candidates for his next Chief of Staff, and whomever it is will have my total support moving forward."
Fox News' Samuel Chamberlain contributed to this report.