Here's what we learned from Newt Gingrich's attempt at 'Understanding Trump'
Posted June 15
Newt Gingrich released his new book, "Understanding Trump," on Tuesday, sharing insights the former House Speaker says he gleaned both during the Trump campaign and in the first months of his presidency.
So in pursuit of "understanding Trump," CNN read the first chapter available online. Here are 10 top takeaways:
1. The foreword is written by none other than Eric Trump.
Eric Trump lauds Understanding Trump as an "inside look into possibly the greatest campaign of all time," citing how his father "gained the most primary votes of any GOP candidate in the history of the nation." Eric Trump also took time in his foreword to offer praise for his father, President Donald Trump, slipping in a classic "Make America Great Again" tag line:
"As to my father, there is no greater man. He is compassionate and caring. He is brilliant and strong. More than anything, he deeply loves our great country. He ran on one promise, to Make America Great Again and he is already well on his way!"
2. Trump reminds Gingrich of probably the last person you would expect: Bill Clinton.
"Trump is the same way one-on-one. Your conversation with him may be brief, but during that moment you have his undivided attention and interest. In this way, Trump reminds me of Bill Clinton -- another president with a grounded middle-class background. When you are speaking with either of them, he is fully engaged in the conversation. At that moment, you are the only person who matters."
3. Trump asked how much it would cost to run a presidential campaign -- and figured the multimillion dollar price tag would be "more fun than a yacht."
"In a very Trump-the-businessman way, he said, 'So, what's the bottom line?' I thought for a minute and said he could be competitive for about $70 to $80 million. His response was priceless. After a moment of thought, he said, '$70 to 80 million: that would be a yacht. This would be a lot more fun than a yacht!' That's when Callista and I learned that a Trump candidacy was likely -- and a Trump presidency was possible."
4. Trump's style is like Tocqueville, Lincoln and Washington: "extraordinarily fact-based."
"Trump's no-nonsense approach makes a lot of sense to everyone outside Washington. Trump wants to set aside the abstract establishment theories and get to what makes up the real world. In a way, I would argue that Trump's way of thinking is a reversion to Tocqueville, Lincoln and Washington. If you look at the original American system, it was extraordinarily fact-based."
5. Trump learned how to perform every job in his hotel business -- dog-walking included!
"Trump also made it a habit to learn to perform every job in his hotel business. There is even a great video available online of Trump doing all the different jobs in one of his hotels, from cleaning rooms to delivering room service to walking the dog of a guest."
6. And while Trump learns things quickly, he is does not enjoy being "taught anything."
"Donald Trump can learn very quickly, but he will resist being taught anything. So, if you walk in and say, 'OK, I have a 30-minute briefing with 16 PowerPoints,' the meeting will immediately end. Instead, if you want President Trump to know something, you have a casual chat."
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7. Trump really does love fast food.
"Any time a meal was served when I flew with candidate Trump aboard his nicely outfitted 757, it was invariably McDonald's, Wendy's or similar fast food. Here was this billionaire with a big plane and a professional crew, and his personal taste leaned toward Main Street American fast food. Friends who saw him in Palm Beach at the fancy Sunday brunch at his golf course reported the same pattern. Trump would wander through the line and get a cheeseburger and fries. It was a very practical reminder that in his heart Trump was raised as a middle-class guy from Queens -- not a Manhattan socialite."
8. Trump also loves his Trump ties, which he says, without proof, are the "best-selling ties in America," by the way.
In the first chapter, Gingrich makes a point of claiming -- twice -- how Trump's ties are the "best-selling ties" in America.
"In 2011, I was preparing to run for president, so I made a trip to Trump Tower. Donald was generous with his time, happy to discuss the campaign, and gave me several Trump ties -- which he pointed out were longer than standard ties and had become the best-selling ties in America. "
Later, Gingrich touts Trump's business savvy: "It is easy to forget that while Trump's real estate and golf projects target the very wealthy, his retail and media products are aimed squarely at the middle class. Trump neckties, for instance, were at one time the best-selling ties in America. 'The Art of the Deal' sold more than one million copies and, of course, 'The Apprentice' was the top-rated show on television for several years."
9. What about the "clueless" and "lying" news media? Gingrich's answer: "Ignore them."
"Even today, months after Trump won the election and was sworn in as president, the news media still tries to cover him as if he were a normal politician, and his ideological opponents continue to be viciously dishonest. They are either clueless or lying. Ignore them."
10. And finally, remember: Trump always wins.
"In mid-October 2016 -- just three weeks before election day -- all the polls were bad. The decade-old 'Access Hollywood' tape with Trump using vulgar language had been exploited to the fullest by the elite media, and virtually everyone in the Trump campaign was jittery and frightened. I called Trump to discuss effective counterpunches, and he told me, 'Just remember, I win. I always win. I am not quite sure how, but by Election Day, we will be winning.' It was a vivid reminder that this man had fought for every inch of his success in life, and he succeeded through seemingly impossible situations before."