Whether this meeting will formally certify Gingrich as the GOP front-runner du jour or it’s just keeping up appearances is anyone’s guess, but it does mean that His Trumpitude has elbowed his way back into the process -- and just in time too. With Herman Cain out of the race, things were beginning to look a little dull.
Mitt Romney, Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry -- as well as non-candidates Cain and Sarah Palin -- have all kissed the ring of the Donald, who will moderate a Republican debate in Iowa later this month and not coincidentally has a new book out that he’s promoting.
Gingrich is booming. A new Des Moines Register poll shows him leading in Iowa, which will hold its presidential caucuses in less than a month. On NBC’s “Today” show Monday, Trump called Gingrich a “rocket ship” who is surging “because he tells it like it is.”
Trump was asked about Gingrich’s remarks on children in poor families, made last week in Des Moines, in which the former House Speaker said, “Really poor children in really poor neighborhoods have no have habits of working and have nobody around them who works. So literally they have no habit of showing up on Monday. They have no habit of staying all day. They have no habit of 'I do this and you give me cash' -- unless it's illegal."
Trump backed up Gingrich. “No, it wasn’t maybe politically correct, but it happens to be the truth,” the real estate mogul/reality-show host/author told NBC’s Matt Lauer. Pushed on the notion of whether poor children lack role models who work, Trump responded with “Let Obama be the role model. Unfortunately, he hasn't turned out to be much of a role model.”
He was also asked about Romney’s struggles to achieve front-runner status. Trump defended Romney's drift rightward over his career. "Sometimes if you don't change your mind, you're stuck."
He called Romney a “very good, solid person. He doesn’t get traction,” adding, “I don’t understand it.”
And yes, El Trumpino has not ruled out running for president himself. You might recall that America endured weeks of this speculation earlier this year before Trump said he wouldn’t do it. It’s too late now for Trump to run as a Republican, but he told Lauer that he would consider running as independent once this season’s run of “Celebrity Apprentice” concludes on NBC.
By the way, Ron Paul is one candidate who will not be schlepping to Midtown Manhattan to meet with the Trumpster. The two have developed a sort of feud that apparently began when Trump told a crowd of conservative activists back in February that Paul couldn’t win the nomination.
“I don't understand the marching to his office,” Paul said on CNN Sunday. "I mean, I didn't know that he had an ability to lay on hands, you know, and anoint people. But I have to just do my thing.”
Paul will be skipping the Trump debate as well. Trump fired back Monday, calling Paul a "joke" candidate.