While Gingrich may be reflecting about his own choice, he said Trump’s presidential candidacy is not happenstance.
“I think he’s a necessary candidate,” Gingrich said.
The British vote to leave the EU, and electoral successes in Europe by populists, is part of “a worldwide movement toward really being angry at the establishment, really feeling cheated by the establishment, really feeling that government has failed and I think Trump is part of that worldwide movement,” he said.
Trump is perceived as divisive only “in the sense that the establishment is faced with a popular uprising and the establishment doesn’t want to give up all of its perks and all of its power,” Gingrich said.
“Do I think Donald Trump is perfect? No. Do I think compared to Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump would be a radically better president? Yes. Hillary Clinton is a nightmare,” he said.
Gingrich was one of numerous former U.S. officials and international dignitaries attending the annual gathering of the People’s Mujahedeen of Iran outside Paris. The exile opposition group calling for regime change in Iran is based in France.
Gingrich said he counts them as modern Muslims but has less tolerance for some Syrian refugees and other Muslims.
“I think particularly with regard to Syrian refugees it is just plain a lie for the United States government to suggest that they have any ability to vet who these people are,” Gingrich said. Officials don’t know their loyalties, he claimed, and lack intelligence capabilities in Syria to find out.
A test on whether or not a person believes in Sharia law would be revelatory because belief in Islamic law is incompatible with secular law, he said.
He didn’t elaborate on how such a test would be administered.