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Gingrich calls Biden ‘weak’ but acknowledges ‘enormous power’ of incumbents in primaries

The Hill logo The Hill 4/16/2023 Jared Gans
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Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) said President Biden is a “weak” commander-in-chief but acknowledged the “enormous power” of incumbent presidents to win a nomination when they run for reelection.

Gingrich told radio talk show host John Catsimatidis on his radio show, “The Cats Roundtable,” on WABC 770 AM in an interview that incumbents are difficult to defeat for renomination by their party, but he argued that Biden is causing the United States to not be trusted in the world. 

“When you’re a very weak President, who doesn’t understand that we have real enemies, and doesn’t understand the requirements of real stakes, the world begins to realize that the United States is very unreliable,” he said. 

Gingrich pointed to the “chaos” of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, in which the Taliban was able to take over the country within days in August 2021, as an example of U.S. weakness. 

But he also pointed to historical examples of challengers not being able to upset sitting presidents for the nomination. 

“Incumbent presidents have enormous power,” he said. 

He mentioned that President Gerald Ford held on to win the Republican Party nomination over future President Ronald Reagan in 1976 and President Jimmy Carter was able to fend off a primary challenge from Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) in 1980. 

Marianne Williamson, a 2020 presidential candidate and self-help author, and Robert F. Kennedy Jr., the son of the former senator and attorney general and a longtime anti-vaccine activist, have declared their candidacies for the Democratic nomination. 

Both are likely long-shot candidates to compete for the nomination. 

Biden has not officially announced his decision on whether he will run in 2024 but is expected to do so. He has repeatedly said that he plans to run but would make a final decision soon. 

When an incumbent has been eligible to run again, a political party has not chosen another candidate as its nominee in more than half a century. 

Gingrich said the Democratic nominee, whoever it is, will need to “carry the burden of four years of bad government, bad economy, open borders, weakness around the world, raising crime rates.” 

He also said he believes former President Trump is “clearly the frontrunner” for the Republican nomination, but many other candidates might join the race before it ends. 

“Many things can happen between now and the nomination,” Gingrich said. “And a lot more can happen between now and the general election.”

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