VATICAN CITY (RNS) President Trump will reportedly name Callista Gingrich, wife of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, as U.S. ambassador to the Holy See, before the president’s meeting with Pope Francis later this month.
According to CNN, the decision to nominate Gingrich has already been made, but the announcement is pending approval from the Office of Government Ethics. Earlier this year, Newt Gingrich confirmed his wife was in the running for the job. The White House declined comment on Monday (May 15).
Callista Gingrich, 51, is a lifelong Catholic who with her husband runs the multimedia company Gingrich Productions, which produces historical documentaries, including one about the canonization of Pope John Paul II.
If appointed she would be only the third woman to serve as the American representative to the Holy See.
Formerly Callista Bisek, she met Newt Gingrich, who later converted to Catholicism, in 1993 when she was a congressional aide. The couple reportedly had an affair while the speaker was still married to his second of three wives, Marianne Gingrich.
Callista Gingrich is a member of the choir at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. The choir visited Rome in 2005 to honor John Paul II and sang for Pope Benedict XVI during his official visit to the U.S. in 2008.
The U.S. Embassy to the Holy See has been without an ambassador since the term of the former envoy, Ken Hackett, ended in January 2017. Hackett was appointed by former President Barack Obama in 2013.
Trump is scheduled to meet with the pope at the Vatican on May 24 as part of a trip that will also include stops in Israel and Saudi Arabia as well as appearances at meetings of NATO and the Group of Seven leading economic countries.