WASHINGTON– Newt Gingrich said Thursday that if asked, he would feel “compelled to serve the country” as Donald Trump’s running mate.
“If Trump offers the position and is serious about it, which I think he would be after our conversations, listen, I would feel compelled to serve the country,” the former House speaker told Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren.
The statement was a pivot for Gingrich: less than one week ago at the Aspen Ideas Festival, he called talk that he would be selected “wild speculation,” saying that even if he were to be chosen, he would have to have a “very, very long talk” with his wife, Callista, and then “another long talk” with the presumptive Republican nominee.
Gingrich, who campaigned with Trump in Cincinnati Wednesday, also confirmed Thursday that he was being vetted for the position, though he qualified the remark by saying, “I have no idea what that means in terms of Donald Trump. He’s the only person that matters.”
He said he had no indication on his chances for being selected, or, as he put it, “Not a hint.”
Gingrich also said “five or six people” are being vetted for the role and that he anticipates Trump will announce the Thursday or Friday before the Republican National Convention begins July 18.
Trump in recent days, however, has teased that as many as 10 people, including two military generals, are in the mix.
In Cincinnati on Wednesday, he praised Gingrich at his campaign rally, telling the audience, “We all love Newt.”
The crowd at one point began chanting Gingrich’s name, leading Trump to say, “I can tell you in one form or another, Newt Gingrich is going to be involved with our government. He says I’m the biggest thing he’s ever seen in the history of politics.”
Other names that have been floated by sources close to Trump this week include New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence and Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton. On Friday, Christie will travel to Miami with Trump, the billionaire’s campaign said.
Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker withdrew himself from consideration Wednesday, and Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst has indicated that she is not interested in the position.