Newt Gingrich, who is reportedly on Donald Trump's short list for a running mate, sharply criticized Trump for his attacks on the federal judge overseeing the lawsuits against Trump University. Trump has repeatedly said on the campaign trail that U.S. District Court Judge Gonzalo Curiel should recuse himself from the case because he is "a Mexican."
Judge Curiel is a native of Indiana whose parents immigrated from Mexico before he was born.
Gingrich, who was a Trump supporter before many others in the Republican Party and has frequently praised the billionaire, was clear in his disagreement with Trump on the matter of Judge Curiel in a "Fox News Sunday" interview.
"This is one of the worst mistakes Trump has made," the former house speaker said. "I think it's inexcusable. He has every right to criticize a judge and he has every right to say certain decisions aren't right and his attorneys can file to move venue from the judge, but, first of all, this judge was born in Indiana, he is an American, period. When you come to America, you get to become an American. and Trump, whose grandparents who came to the U.S. should understand this as much as anybody."
Unlike many critics, Gingrich would not concede that Trump's comments about Curiel was racism. "I think this was a mistake," Gingrich said. "I hope it was sloppiness."
Gingrich advised Trump "move to a new level" with his rhetoric since the primary season is over. He should move "to the level of being a potential leader."
While this interview take Gingrich off the short list of potential vice presidential candidates? Perhaps in any other year, but conventional wisdom seems irrelevant in 2016. This could be a show of how Gingrich would have the gravitas to be on a ticket with Trump, while other candidates might cower.