Gingrich calls for eliminating White House press corps in wake of Mulvaney briefing

Former Speaker Newt GingrichNewton (Newt) Leroy GingrichMORE (R-Ga.) on Monday renewed his call for eliminating the White House press corps, saying that the reporters are all “enemies” of President TrumpDonald John TrumpFive takeaways from the Democratic debate As Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target Leading Democrats largely pull punches at debate MORE.

Gingrich, a staunch defender of the president, made the statements on CBS News’s streaming service after being asked about remarks White House acting chief of staff Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyDefense official testifies Ukraine was aware of issues with aid in July Sondland brings impeachment inquiry to White House doorstep Overnight Defense — Presented by Boeing — Senate eyes sending stopgap spending bill back to House | Sondland delivers bombshell impeachment testimony | Pentagon deputy says he didn't try to block official's testimony MORE made regarding Trump's interactions with Ukraine during a press briefing last week.

While speaking to reporters, Mulvaney indicated that Trump withheld military aid from Ukraine in part to get the country to investigate an unproven theory related to the 2016 election. He has since walked back those remarks.

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Questioned on how he would have advised Mulvaney before the briefing, Gingrich said that "there wouldn't be a White House press corps in the White House" if he had the ability to make such a decision.

"They’re all the enemies of the president," Gingrich, who ran for the GOP presidential nomination in 2012, said. "Why would you call on people who get up every morning saying, 'I hate Donald Trump. I wonder how I can make his life miserable'?"

"Well, this is the opportunity for the president to speak to the people, right?" CBSN anchor Anne-Marie Green responded, prompting Gingrich to contend that the president does not need the press corps to speak to the American public. 

"The president can speak to the people. He doesn’t need to go through a bunch of reporters, who are then going to be distorted by their editors," Gingrich argued. 

Mulvaney raised alarm last week after indicating that Trump used nearly $400 million in military aid as a source of leverage in his attempt to get Ukraine to investigate whether the country was involved in the 2016 hack of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) server. 

Mulvaney backtracked on those remarks just hours later, saying in a statement that "there was absolutely no quid pro quo between Ukrainian military aid and any investigation into the 2016 election." He also accused the media of “misconstruing” his initial statements. 

Tom Bossert, a former Homeland Security adviser in the Trump administration, has called the claim that Ukraine was involved in the DNC hack a "conspiracy theory" with zero validity. 

Trump has repeatedly targeted the media throughout his time as president, often referring to journalists as "fake news" and the "enemy of the people."

Gingrich has echoed those sentiments, and he previously called on the president to do away with press briefings entirely. In May 2017, he said in a Fox News interview that Trump should "close down the press room," labeling reporters as "dishonest opponents."