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Gingrich urges NYers to expand, diversify the Republican Party

Newt Gingrich, former House Speaker speaks at the

Newt Gingrich, former House Speaker speaks at the New York Delegation breakfast at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, on Monday, July 18, 2016. Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.

CLEVELAND — One of Donald Trump’s most visible surrogates, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, issued a call Monday morning to New York Republicans to expand and diversify the party using social media, saying a win in the blue state is within reach for the presumptive GOP presidential nominee.

Gingrich also criticized the country’s Democratic leadership as sheep who serve as prey to terrorist wolves.

“It’s insanity because our sheep leadership cannot recognize that they can never become guard dogs,” the Republican from Georgia said in remarks to a New York State GOP breakfast focused on national security. “They’re psychologically incapable, they’re ideologically incapable, they’re operationally incapable.”

Gingrich at the Renaissance Cleveland Hotel called himself a guard dog who can kill wolves and protect sheep.

He said the GOP must unseat Democratic elected officials who are inviting terror into the country with lax immigration laws.

He added that social media can be a helpful means of recruitment.

Gingrich recently turned to Facebook Live broadcasts to share his experience and views on being a finalist in Trump’s search for a running mate.

The Manhattan real estate mogul and presumptive Republican presidential nominee ultimately chose Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as his vice-president pick.

“So I beg you, have the courage to open up the party, have the courage to go into every precinct in the city, have the courage to listen to fellow Americans and have the courage to develop the answers so that we can win a decisive election,” Gingrich said. “Because if we carry New York by the margin we should, we change American history.”

With a standing ovation, Republicans in the room embraced Gingrich’s call to bring in everyone from more “red-necky” conservatives to minorities aligned with Democrats.

State Sen. Joseph Griffo (R-Utica) said his staff has been pushing him to use Facebook Live and other social media more to reach and explain the GOP position rather than have Democrats define it.

“That’s what Trump accomplished, in my opinion,” Griffo said. “He brought these people into the party who weren’t involved.”

Griffo added, “We can attract them with a general philosophy, without giving up our core principles.”

Inclusion has been a Republican goal for years.

A party position paper over a year ago had planned a big push to attract the growing Latino vote, but Trump with his call for building a wall at the Mexican border to keep out “rapists” and “murderers” has quashed much of that effort this year.

Adele Malpass, chair of the Manhattan Republican Party who said she uses Twitter, said the diverse New York City borough includes Republicans of all colors and ages. The convention’s oldest delegate, Rubye Wright, is a black woman and district leader from Harlem, Malpass noted.

“I really believe in what Newt said about the Republican Party’s tendency to stay in the box, to stay on their home turf, to increase their numbers within red states and not play in the blue states,” she said, adding of Trump, “We have a really different candidate and the party seems to be way out of their comfort zone and their box.”

She agreed with Gingrich that Trump could do much better in New York than many expect. “The untold story is New York’s in play,” Malpass said. “New York is in play.”

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