Washington – “Do you think you’re paid to be a professional provocateur?”
That was former House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s response to a British journalist asking about the Trump Administration’s decision to deliberately overstate the size of his inauguration crowd.
Our AJC colleague Ryon Horne was on hand to capture the exchange. Watch it here:
“Do you think they lied more than Barack Obama?” the former Georgia lawmaker asked the reporter.
When pressed on whether it was, as Trump said, the largest inauguration crowd ever, Gingrich added:
“It was pretty clear it was a substantially larger crowd than the elite media in the United States wanted to concede,” he said.
He was then asked whether using his first full day as president to make inaccurate statements. Gingrich claimed a “new double standard.”
“Barack Obama routinely said things that were false. The entire Benghazi narrative was false,” he said, adding: “I didn’t hear anyone in the media suddenly say, ‘Oh my gosh, what a terrible thing that Barack Obama lies to us.'”
Gingrich was one of Trump’s most vocal surrogates during the GOP primary, and emerged as a contender for Secretary of State in November before pulling himself out of the running. He has no formal role with the Trump White House, although he has pressed the president to make him a “senior planner” who will target wasteful spending.
Echoing Trump’s comments about a “running war with the media,” Gingrich cast the beginning of the Trump presidency as a “deep struggle with an elite media which loathes him, voted against him, is horrified by him, and will lie about him every chance they get.”