Presidential races

Gingrich pushing Trump to issue hundreds of executive orders on first day

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CLEVELAND — Newt Gingrich, who is expected to serve as a senior policy adviser in Donald Trump’s administration if the GOP presidential nominee is elected, says he would urge a newly elected President Trump to sign as many as 300 executive orders on his first day in office.

{mosads}Gingrich, who, while serving as Speaker of the House in the 1990s, struck deals with former President Bill Clinton to reform welfare and balance the budget, says Trump will have to build excitement in Congress to break the legislative gridlock that has defined most of President Obama’s administration.

“You’ve got an extraordinary opening day, where you sign [200] or 300 executive orders,” Gingrich told a gathering at The Union Club Tuesday evening.

Gingrich said one thing Trump might do right off the bat is move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, something Trump pledged to do earlier this year. The move would please many pro-Israeli Jewish voters and Christians, who want Jerusalem to serve as the country’s undivided capital.

Gingrich also highlighted an executive order authorizing construction of the Keystone XL pipeline as another item on the first-day agenda.

“You have a whole bunch of stuff you can do on day one that gives you a sense of excitement,” he said at the event in downtown Cleveland hosted by the law firm Dentons.

Executive orders from Trump could do much to undo actions taken by President Obama, who has relied on executive orders extensively to move forward with his agenda. 

Gingrich said Trump should start preparing for his first hundred days as soon as September by meeting with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) to pick five or six legislative items to pass in the first four months of 2017.

“In September, early October, you try to find with McConnell and Paul Ryan five or 10 big things,” he said.

Gingrich thinks Trump should unveil a list of policy proposals similar to the Contract with America, which Gingrich famously designed in 1994, to give voters a rationale for giving Republicans control of the House after 40 years of Democratic rule.

“Sometime in the next 60 days, they need to outline just a handful of big things, and they need to accomplish them by April 30th, which is the hundred days, and that will build a momentum of achievement,” he said.

But Gingrich acknowledged it will be important to bring Democrats on board. Otherwise, Trump’s legislative agenda is likely to get hung up by filibusters in the Senate and other obstructionist tactics.

“They ought to get as many Democrats as they can,” he said.

Gingrich and Trump sat down for a two-and-a-half-hour meeting recently in Indianapolis, where they discussed the possibility of Gingrich serving as Trump’s running mate.

When it became apparent that Gingrich would likely not get the nod, Trump asked him what role he would like to serve in the administration. Gingrich asked to be given a special position akin to a tsar in charge of reviewing the federal bureaucracy.

“He said, ‘Look, if you don’t get the vice presidency, what do you want?’ ” Gingrich recounted. “I said I want to be the senior planner for the entire federal government, and I want a letter from you that says Newt Gingrich is authorized to go to any program in any department, examine it and report directly to the president.”

He said he wanted to serve in the job without pay to have “absolute ability to say what I think.”

But Gingrich, who was one of the most divisive figure in politics when he served as Speaker — played a central role in the 1995-96 government shutdown and oversaw impeachment proceedings against Clinton — acknowledged that soliciting Democratic cooperation will be essential.

He said Trump is well suited to strike bipartisan deals because of his professional experience working with Democratic politicians in New York and other cities on major real estate projects.

Gingrich said that, if elected, Trump should use his deal-making skills to put together a massive infrastructure bill that would be paid for with royalties from opening federal lands to oil and gas drilling, mining, and other development.

He said giving energy and mining companies access to federal lands could generate up to $1 trillion for infrastructure projects.

Haley Barbour, a longtime party strategist who served as Republican National Committee chairman in 1994, when Republicans took over the House, said it would be a good idea for Trump to come up with something similar to the Contract with America.

“I think it is very helpful to Trump politically to talk about serious, substantive policy,” he said. “One of the issues is a lot of Republicans and independents are not sure what he’s really for. So lay it out.

“It would give a lot of Republicans who are not certain some comfort,” he added. “Talk about economics, budget, debt, crime.”

Barbour, who voted for Ohio Gov. John Kasich in the presidential primary, is attending his 11th Republican National Convention.

Tags Bill Clinton Donald Trump Mitch McConnell Paul Ryan

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