Newt Gingrich is optimistic that a Donald Trump presidency will create a level of economic growth so dramatic that it will convince all Americans he was the right choice to lead the country.
“Trump will be the boldest change agent in modern history, much more than Reagan, partly because he’s a genuine entrepreneur,” the former House speaker told a crowd of about 80 people at DFW International Airport this morning.
Gingrich, along with Republican Rep. Pete Sessions of Dallas, joined leaders of the Career Education Colleges and Universities trade group as they announced the launch of a campaign to get 5 million people ready for professional careers in the decade ahead.
It was a like-minded group. Gingrich asked audience members to raise their hands if they agreed with his assessment: “You’re on a journey dramatically more likely to succeed today than the day before the election.” All arms went up.
CECU used data from the Department of Education and Bureau of Labor Statistics to find that private-sector career colleges and universities in Texas will have graduated enough career professionals to fill 17 percent of the close to 2.6 million new jobs in the state by 2024.
High-demand programs in the years to come will turn out barbers, cosmetologists, and nursing and dental assistants.
To create enough jobs to make Trump’s economic plan work, Gingrich said, America needs to have enough people in career education programs that enable them to re-enter the middle class.
Sessions said the country needs not only liberal arts education, but also technical training that equips students with skill sets in high demand.
“Universities cater to recreation majors: psychology, sociology — the touchy-feely things rather than actually the technical-asset and -based sciences, which require in-depth thinking and skill sets,” Sessions said.
“So what we need in this country are technical training centers” that prepare cosmetologists, dental hygienists and air-conditioning technicians, he said. “We need those people within our system, and we need them to come and get actual training in a technical way.”
Sessions emphasized that Ivy League colleges are not the only avenues to success.
“I have a son in the bottom 2 percent academically, with Down syndrome, and one in the top 2 percent,” Sessions said. “Both of these young men on either end of the spectrum still have needs and desires, and there are a whole bunch of people in between who need us to be successful.”
In an interview, Gingrich had lots to say to The Dallas Morning News about the election and Trump during his Dallas visit.
On Trump’s transition strategy: Gingrich has said he’s not going to be a member of the president-elect’s Cabinet. “I think my essential role going forward is to be senior planner,” he said.
Gingrich said he’s not worried about the time it is taking Trump to pull his team together.
“It took much longer for Obama to do it, and nobody seemed to care. This is the news media hysteria because Trump wasn’t supposed to win. I think Nixon announced his Cabinet something like Dec. 16. Actually, Trump will get that done long before then.”
On Texans rumored to be in the running for key positions: Gingrich called Rep. Jeb Hensarling, the chairman of the House’s Financial Services Committee, a “smart guy” and “good committee chairman.” He said he suspects there’s a fair chance the Dallas Republican will get a significant assignment.
On Sen. Ted Cruz, mentioned as a possible nominee to fill the Supreme Court’s vacancy, Gingrich said he was less sure and said it depends on what Cruz wants.
“Does he want to stay in the Senate, which he could do? There’s some talk he might be added to the list of possible Supreme Court nominees,” Gingrich said. “Whether or not he would, he’s a natural leader. I’m not sure he’s a natural part of the Cabinet. He and Trump would have to talk that through.”
On post-election anxieties: “If conservatives had reacted to the election of Obama with the level of absurdity that liberals have reacted to Trump, we would all be labeled racists. We had an election. We won. The idea that some universities are offering aromatherapy as a way of coping with the pain tells you a lot about how stupid universities are becoming. The system will move on. It’s an amazingly robust system, unlike most dictatorships.”
On the moment he learned Trump would be president: He said he felt relieved at 2 a.m. “I had been telling people since September 2015 he would win. I would have looked really stupid if he lost.”
On the secret Trump voter: “When the news media smears somebody as intensely as they smeared Trump, a significant number of people will not say they’re for him publicly.”
On connecting with minority groups: “The best example is the South Side of Chicago. If somebody in your neighborhood is getting shot every two hours, maybe it’s time for a change. If you’re in a neighborhood where nobody learns how to read, maybe it’s time to change. If you’re in a neighborhood where there’s no jobs, maybe it’s time for change. Consistently, these are large cities run by Democrats on behalf of bureaucrats and unions, and maybe poor people ought to have a chance to go to school and work and have a better future, including living in a safe neighborhood.”
On his concerns about the future: “I’m worried about the scale of complexity. It’s at least 10 times harder to govern than it is to campaign. There’s so many things coming at you so fast, from so many directions. It’s the difference between riding a bicycle and flying a 747. He’ll do lots of things I’ll like and he’ll do some things I don’t like. The morning he is sworn in and not Hillary, I’ll feel really good.”