Donald Trump will nominate Callista Gingrich to be Vatican ambassador — but wanted Newt to be on TV instead

Trump wanted Newt Gingrich, one of his biggest supporters, to keep pushing for him — from across the Atlantic

Published May 15, 2017 2:50PM (EDT)

 (AP/Richard Shiro)
(AP/Richard Shiro)

President Trump will choose Callista Gingrich as the next U.S. ambassador to the Vatican, but that didn't almost happen — because the president would rather have Newt defending him on TV.

Gingrich was worried that a move to Europe would prevent her husband, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, from defending the president on television, according to Axios. A source told Axios they assured the president that arrangements would be made for Gingrich to broadcast from the Holy See via satellite.

Trump is set to visit Rome where he will meet with Pope Francis on May 24, and the White House is hoping the president will formally announce his decision beforehand. The process has taken longer than usual because an approval from the Office of Government Ethics is still currently pending, according to CNN. In a 2011 interview Gingrich told the Christian Broadcasting Network that she has "always been a very spiritual person."

As a devout Catholic, Gingrich is a member of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington. She played a major role in her husband's conversion to Catholicism according to the New York Times, but was also a reason why Mr. Gingrich's second marriage ended in 1999, after the former speaker of the house was engaged in a six-year affair with her.

The decision to nominate Gingrich was first rumored back in January and others, like former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum, were also considered for the job. Santorum removed himself after saying the position would put a financial strain on his family, according to the Times.

But the Vatican, under Pope Francis, has shifted many of its traditional stances on divorce, and other social issues.

The Times reported:

Divorce has emerged as a fault line in the Vatican in recent months. Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation on the family, “Amoris Laetitia,” seemed open to the idea of making communion available to Catholics remarried without receiving church annulments.


By Charlie May

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Callista Gingrich Newt Gingrich Pope Francis President Donald Trump The Vatican U.s. Ambassador