Gingrich, Trump to team up on apprentice program for New York youth

Republican presidential front-runner Newt Gingrich met with Donald Trump in Manhattan Monday morning, telling reporters afterward that they had discussed an apprenticeship program for poor children in New York.

Gingrich made waves when last week he suggested that children from poor families should be hired as janitors at their schools to teach them a work ethic, arguing they currently had no way of working "unless it's illegal."

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The former House Speaker said he asked Trump to offer apprenticeships to 10 children from the poorest New York City public schools, joking that they could work as Trump's "Apprenti," in reference to the business mogul's reality show "The Apprentice."

"I thought it was a great idea," Trump said, according to The Associated Press. "We're going to be picking 10 young wonderful children and make them 'apprenti.' We're going to have a little fun with it."

Gingrich also defended Trump from criticism leveled by other GOP candidates, who have objected to the reality show host being named moderator of an upcoming Republican debate sponsored by Newsmax. Jon Huntsman and Ron Paul have already announced they will not attend, with Paul saying that the format would be "circus-like."

"This is a country that elected a peanut farmer to the presidency. This is a country that elected an actor who made two movies with a chimpanzee to the presidency," Gingrich said. "Donald Trump is a great showman; he's also a great businessman. I think one of the differences between my party and the other party is we actually go to people who know how to create jobs. We need to be open to new ways of doing things."

Trump was also complementary of Gingrich, tweeting after their meeting that he was "a big thinker." But Trump says he doesn't plan to endorse any candidate until after the debate he's hosting, scheduled for Dec. 27.

Trump has also said that if he is unhappy with the Republican field, he would also consider running as a third-party candidate.