The fictional platform of reality TV star Donald Trump has the GOP establishment baffled on how to deal with his improbable popularity. As GOP insiders and the conservative base warm to what party veterans see as a “joke candidate,” likely GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich opted for a more theatrical approach. Asked today by radio host Sean Hannity what he thought of Trump and his birther conspiracy, Gingrich described Trump as the “P.T. Barnum” of the “Barnum and Bailey Circus”:
GINGRICH: Well look I think that he is a little bit wild. A little bit..some have compared him to P.T. Barnum and the rise of the Barnum and Bailey Circus. He is one of the great showman of our lifetime. He is very clever at getting news media attention. And he’s in his “Apprentice” candidate phase. That’s fine. He brings a level of excitement and life — a lot more folks will talk about the Republican ticket in the next few weeks because of Donald Trump. I’m all for him being an active Republican, then at some point he’s got to settle down…But for the moment it’s a bit like watching American Idol. We have the newest guest star.
Gingrich didn’t admit Obama was born in the U.S. but said it’s Trump’s “prerogative” to hire researchers to “run around” Hawaii. Gingrich now joins many of the GOP potential presidential hopefuls in staking out their position on “the Donald.” While former Govs. Sarah Palin (AK) and Mike Huckabee (AR) are firmly in the Trump camp, former Gov. Mitt Romney (MA) dismissed Trump’s theories outright. Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty (MN) found a colorful comparison of his own, equating a Trump candidacy to one of “Hulk Hogan.”
Before Republican donors in New Hampshire last night, Gingrich told reporters that Trump’s birther obsession raises “a fair question in this society.” “It’s the nature of modern American,” he added. When given the choice of President Obama or Trump, Gingrich said “I would have zero hesitation saying that Donald Trump is dramatically less dangerous to America’s future than Barack Obama, and I’d be happy to campaign for him.”