Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich may not have been Donald Trump's choice as a running mate, but he said Sunday that he's not disappointed--and that he'd still be happy to serve in Trump's administration.
"I would certainly serve with the president, preferably in a position that he and I would work out," Gingrich said on CBS' "Face the Nation."
Trump formally announced this weekend that he had chosen Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as his running mate, putting an end to weeks and months of speculation over who Trump would pick to share the ticket with him. Gingrich and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie were other shortlisted prospects.
"I think Pence is a great choice," Gingrich said. "I feel very close to Donald and his family, and I'm confident I'll have plenty of opportunity to try to help plan things and try to help move things forward."
Gingrich said Trump's vetting process, which he went through himself as a shortlisted candidate, was "very methodical."
"They were very thorough, we had about 113 questions to answer, some of which were fairly exhausting," he said. "The team that vetted folks -- I had four lawyers sitting down with Callista and me for about two and a half, almost three hours and they went over a lot of stuff."
Trump's team "recognized that this is the first really big, irrevocable decision of his presidency and that he had to take it seriously," he added.
Gingrich also explained why he recently referred to Trump as a "pirate," saying it was a comment on Trump's unconventional style and lack of background in establishment politics. (Last week before the Pence pick was announced, Gingrich said his pitch to Trump was that if he was chosen as VP, Trump "could have two pirates on the ticket"; in an interview, he said "in a lot of ways, my entire career has been a little bit like a pirate.")
"Pirates are folks who are outside the regular order who get things done who are colorful -- you know, just go watch 'Pirates of the Caribbean,'" he said. "I think it's a term, though, most folks understand."
Trump is outside the norm, Gingrich said, adding that real change in Washington is going to require someone with a "very strong personality."
"This is a guy who is going to be different -- if you want to break up the corrupt bureaucratic, incestuous system of Washington, you had better have somebody who has a very strong personality and who's very willing to get in fights," he said. "You're not going to get some nice pleasant corporate bureaucrat to come to this city and dramatically change it."