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Newt Gingrich Says He Encouraged Donald Trump to Pick Mike Pence

Updated: Jul 19, 2016 10:15 AM ET | Originally published: Jul 18, 2016

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said on Monday that he encouraged GOP presumptive nominee to pick Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as his running mate over Gingrich himself.

“We talked it out for 2.5 hours and I thought that Pence was the right choice given where we are and what needs to get accomplished,” Gingrich told TIME at the Westin Hotel in Cleveland, where Trump and his entourage are staying during the convention.

Gingrich said he was far from disappointed and believed that Trump made a decision that will help unite the party. His remarks came minutes before a divisive fight on the convention floor a few blocks away where #NeverTrump Republicans tried to force a vote to change the rules and unbind the delegates.

“People who are bad losers and who want the right to slug it out that’s their right it’s a free country,” Gingrich mused, while predicting correctly that the move would fail. “Donald Trump is a unique character in his own right. He got more votes than any Republican in history; he carried 37 state primaries. Normally, that’s called winning.”

Gingrich called the party “semi-united.” “The party will be united by September. Hillary will do a lot to unite us,” he said. “Just watching Hillary, watching what she stands for, she gradually drives people back home.”

Gingrich predicted that Republicans will also realize what’s at stake in the election.

“It’s important on every level. It’s important to national security. It’s important to dealing with the problems to the inner city, where the president has failed so totally. It’s important in job creation where 25 million Americans have dropped out of the middle class," he said. "It’s important in terms of the Supreme Court on whether we have a radical court or a conservative court, so it’s a very very important election.”

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