Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich Monday praised late Sen. John McCain as a man who would stand up for principles and for his friends, but at the same time said he understands why the Arizona Republican and President Donald Trump eventually butted heads.
“I think you had two very tough guys who very early on in the Trump presidential campaign, McCain took a shot at Trump and as you know, he’s going to shoot back immediately,” said Gingrich on Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom,” referring to Trump saying he did not consider McCain, a former prisoner of war, a hero because he was captured.
“I think what Trump said at the time was very unwise and very inaccurate, but nonetheless by that point they’re locked into this personal relationship,” said Gingrich. “Then there are genuine honest policy differences and I think that’s part of what you get when you have a disruptive new president, the two of them seem to find it impossible to unlock and start over.”
He also recalled a time when he was on the House floor and two Democrats who were physically larger “were sort of trying to psychologically push me.”
“I didn’t realize that John was next to me,” said Gingrich. “He instantly physically stepped in next to me, looked up at them because he’s not that big physically, looked up and said, ‘If you come to him, you have to come for me. The name is McCain.’ I almost felt I was watching the automatic behavior that he learned in Hanoi in the prison camp ever since. I’ve always looked at him like he was a guy who will protect you at a moment’s notice.”
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