Gingrich: If Trump wants Romney for secretary of state, "I'm for Romney"

Despite his previous misgivings, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said Sunday that he could get behind Mitt Romney as a secretary of state if President-elect Donald Trump makes that decision.

“I’m very comfortable if given the amount of time he’s put into this, if President-elect (Trump) says I want Romney, I’m for Romney,” Gingrich said in an interview with CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “If he concludes that Romney could do the job best, then I’m for Romney.”

A trusted adviser on the Trump transition team, Gingrich has been a vocal critic of Romney since his name was floated for the nation’s top diplomatic slot. Just last week, the former House speaker mocked Romney for trying to “suck up” to Mr. Trump, who the one-time Republican presidential nominee had slammed during the 2016 campaign cycle.

Gingrich said he “got no blowback from anybody” for his inflammatory comments, and “until that decision is made, it’s a fair conversation” to have.  

“Face the Nation” host John Dickerson then pressed Gingrich on what is more effective for the new president-elect, giving opinions directly to him or broadcasting them on television for Mr. Trump to hear.  

Gingrich’s response: “As a general rule, something you tell him in person. On occasion it helps to reinforce that on TV.”

On national security issues, Gingrich dismissed the criticism of Mr. Trump regarding when it came to taking too few intelligence briefings.

“I have no idea what the current intelligence briefings are like and I’m not denigrating them,” Gingrich said. “But if you took the total number of foreign leaders that president-elect Trump has talked to in the last couple of weeks, he’s clearly engaged in the world.”

“He’s getting advice from [German President] Merkel, from a wide range of leaders, from Abe in Japan,” he added. “At the same time, he’s got several people that he trusts.”

The former House speaker also defended the president-elect’s recent deal with manufacturing company Carrier, which cut a deal with the incoming administration that it would keep about 1,000 jobs in Indiana instead of moving them to Mexico. 

“He’s picking winners among Americans. It’s a very simple model,” Gingrich said, when asked to respond to critiques that Mr. Trump is interfering with the free market.

“There are 50 governors that work overtime to get people to invest in their states.” he said. “In the new world economy maybe you better have a president that behaves like a governor and says ‘Hey, I’m competing with Mexico and I’m competing with China and I’m competing with Germany and I want that factory here, now what do I got to do to get that factory here.’”