Newt Gingrich might soon mount a return to government, if Donald Trump gives him the chance.
The prospect of a Trump-Gingrich ticket only gained traction after a Cincinnati, Ohio, rally on July 6, at which Gingrich introduced the Republican nominee to more than 7,000 supporters. He hit on several of Trump’s favorite themes — corruption, a rigged system, the establishment and bashing Hillary Clinton, most recently for her emails.
"The difference between all the folks who talked and Donald Trump, is that he has had a lifetime of getting things done," Gingrich said. "Everybody else is talking about how they want to change Washington a little bit. This guy’s going to kick over the table."
Trump did nothing to dispel the rumors of a potential Trump-Gingrich ticket.
"I’m not saying it’s Newt, but if it’s Newt, no one’s going to be beating him in those debates," Trump said. "In one form or another, Newt Gingrich is going to be involved with our government."
Gingrich has since said if Trump offers, he "would feel compelled to serve the country."
Gingrich has been in public life for a while — first as a Georgia congressman, then as speaker of the House, later as a 2012 presidential candidate and then as a pundit on CNN and Fox News.
With the veep rumors swirling, we decided to look back at Gingrich’s record on the Truth-O-Meter. Of the 73 claims we’ve rated, 53 percent have been rated either Mostly False, False or Pants on Fire!
The 2012 campaign
Gingrich’s run for president in 2012 lasted a year before he suspended his campaign and endorsed Mitt Romney, the Republican nominee.
We rated Gingrich 53 times during this stretch, and found 60 percent of his claims Mostly False, False or Pants on Fire! Some of his more interesting claims included accusing Romney of denying funding for kosher food (Mostly False) and claiming federal officials were banned from saying Merry Christmas (Pants on Fire!).
He also spent a lot of time talking up his record in Congress.
During a Republican primary debate, Gingrich claimed actions he had taken as speaker "ultimately" led to four consecutive years of balanced budgets. We rated this Mostly True.
He had made several similar claims before, all of which we rated False because he only served as speaker for two of the four years with balanced budgets. This time, however, Gingrich was more accurate in saying legislation under his watch contributed to balanced budgets even after he left.
Gingrich has also gone up against social welfare programs with mixed results. In Iowa, he claimed millionaires could receive food stamps and that recipients could use the money for a trip to Hawaii. A look at federal rules proved him incorrect, and we rated his statement Pants on Fire.
He also claimed that every tenth dollar the Social Security Administration spent on the poor was waste or fraud. This was Mostly True, because he was off on the total amount of fraud but right on the frequency.
One of the biggest obstacles his candidacy faced during the election cycle, however, was a resurfaced ethics allegation from his time as speaker in the 1990s.
While in Congress, Gingrich taught a course on American civilization at Kennesaw State College. Organizers solicited donations for the course claiming tax-exempt status, but upon investigation the ethics committee found that the course furthered a "partisan, political goal."
The claim we fact-checked was from February 2012, when Gingrich claimed he had been "exonerated" of all accusations. Contrary to his statement, however, the ethics committee passed a reprimand and a $300,000 penalty, which the entire House then approved. Gingrich’s exoneration claim rated Pants on Fire.
A provocative pundit
Gingrich has a mixed record as a political commentator, both before and after his 2012 bid. After the election, he briefly served as host of CNN’s Crossfire before moving back to Fox News, where he worked as a commentator before the election.
Overall, the ratings for his post-2012 punditry have been balanced on the Truth-O-Meter, with seven of his 12 claims True, Mostly True or Half True.
As Crossfire host in September 2013, Gingrich defended his record as speaker. He called government shutdowns — such as the two he presided over — a normal part of governance. We rated that Half True, finding some shutdowns worse than others in both duration and consequence.
On the same show, Gingrich railed against ObamaCare, saying a "majority of Americans has never favored" the legislation. We found his statement Mostly True, with the caveat that a majority approved of some of the law’s specific components.
We also fact-checked his punditry career before his 2012 presidential run. Of the eight claims we fact-checked, half were rated True, Mostly True, or Half True. He did, however, make some significant errors.
In June 2009, for example, he claimed Obama’s stimulus bill would ban religious groups from using public schools. However, we found that existing legal precedent — and the language of the bill itself — made this claim a Pants on Fire!
Trump and Gingrich have generally been on the same side during the 2016 election, with one exception.
On May 26, 2016, the day Trump clinched the GOP nomination, he claimed Trump had done so in record time. We gave him a Pants on Fire, counting five other candidates from both sides of the aisle who clinched their nominations quicker.
Gingrich joined in on the "crooked Hillary" bandwagon in April, accusing the Clinton Foundation of unconstitutionally receiving money from foreign governments. Experts agreed the issue was too hazy to reach a definitive conclusion, and we rated his statement Mostly False.
Despite the current veepstakes, the Trump-Gingrich relationship hasn’t always been positive. Gingrich criticized Trump in June over Trump’s remarks about Indiana-born Hispanic judge Gonzalo Curiel, calling Trump’s attacks "inexcusable." The next day, Trump called Gingrich’s condemnation "inappropriate."
"I think it is so profoundly dishonest that it sickens me and makes me very angry," Gingrich said in an interview with CNN. "The media's deliberate distortion. It's absurdity. He has got a son-in-law who's an Orthodox Jew, his daughter has converted to Judaism, grandchildren who are Jewish. And he gave a speech at AIPAC (the American Israel Public Affairs Committee) that was pretty definitive. And in the middle of this, you get this kind of smear?"
It looks like the two have mended fences.
Trump has said he will officially announce his vice presidential pick — Gingrich or not — just prior to the Republican convention starting July 18.