Newt Gingrich
Trump surrogate Newt Gingrich said the president-elect's remarks on the buildup of nuclear weapons in the US were 'exactly right' REUTERS/Mark Kauzlarich

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich endorsed on Sunday (25 December) President-elect Donald Trump's comments about expanding the US nuclear programme. Gingrich, who is an avid supporter of the incoming president, called Trump's remarks "exactly right".

"I think for the [next president to say] we're going to have to systematically rebuild our nuclear capability, is exactly right," Gingrich told Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace. He added that Trump's comments reflect the world in which China, Iran, North Korea and Russia have tried to build up their weapons programmes.

"There are a number of steps [Russia is] taking to be a war-fighting capability," he continued. "We have to, candidly, overmatch that."

According to The Huffington Post, Gingrich also defended Trump's decision to broadcast his nuclear weapons policy on Twitter. "On the tweeting thing, let me just suggest if I might, we might as well get used to it," he said. "This is who he is, it's how he's going to operate—whether it's brilliant or stupid."

When asked by Wallace if he believes Trump's usage of Twitter is brilliant or stupid, Gingrich responded: "I think it's brilliant because first of all he's able very quickly, over and over again, to set the agenda."

Trump tweeted on Thursday (22 December) that the US "must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes." The president-elect added during a Friday (23 December) interview with MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski: "Let it be an arms race... we will outmatch them at every pass and outlast them all."

Wallace questioned Gingrich on whether Trump's remarks about an arms race while also praising Russian President Vladimir Putin could send contradictory signals about whether he views Putin as an ally or enemy. "I think right now he sees Putin as either or both," Gingrich responded.

Trump's statement appeared to break with the decades-long policy of combating the spread of nuclear weapons, Politico reported. Trump's stance also stands apart from international treaties established to reduce the world's nuclear cache, including the 1987 agreement between US President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.