Newt on Trump, circa 1989

A Republican strategist at a rival campaign, pretty well fed up with Trump and Newt equally, points me to a 1989 interview with Gingrich – then the minority whip in the House – conducted by the moderate Ripon Society.

[Q]uotas send exactly the wrong signal to poor people. It says that they are going to get justice through political action and that justice is going to redress the past. That is simply, historically, not true.  It’s not the way the world works. The more power there is in a political system, the more the powerful exploit it. New York hasn’t ended up a dream world for the poor. It has become a place where Donald Trump manipulates the game.

The timing is interesting. In the early 1990s, some of Trump’s bets had started to go bad, and he accrued massive amounts of debt, sending one property into bankrupcty. In 1989, there were strains, but no real crises, so Gingrich was probably referring the luck Trump had in building on wasted real estate, financed (in some cases) by junk bonds. Whatever the case, this is a different Newt than the one who calls Trump an “American original.”