Callista Gingrich has friends in high places, though she now faces being sent to someone with even more powerful connections.
The wife of former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich has been officially nominated as Ambassador to the Vatican, the White House announced Friday evening.
The 51-year-old former Congressional aide will have to find common ground between the leader of the U.S. and the leader of the world’s more than 1 billion Catholics, sometimes described as the “anti-Trump.”
Callista Gingrich has become known for outward expressions of her conservative Catholicism, with the White House mentioning that she has sung in the choir at Washington’s Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception for more two decades.
There have been whispers that she would get the job representing the U.S. to Pope Francis since before the inauguration, though some question whether she has the diplomatic experience for the role.
Her nomination, which needs Senate approval, comes as Trump embarked on his first foreign trip as President, which will include a stop at the Vatican.
The appointment is largely seen as a reward for campaign support from her husband, who she began dating while he was still married to his second wife.
Newt Gingrich later converted to Catholicism.
It is unclear how Callista Gingrich will fare in her mission given the gulf in thinking between Trump and Francis.
In a visit to the U.S.-Mexico border last year, the Pope said that countries should “build bridges not walls,” a thinly veiled reference to Trump and his anti-immigrant stances.
The future President then blasted the Pope for what he saw as being too political, saying his Mexico comments were “disgraceful.”
“If and when the Vatican is attacked by ISIS, which as everyone knows is ISIS’ ultimate trophy, I can promise you that the Pope would have only wished and prayed that Donald Trump would have been President because this would not have happened,” Trump said last February.
Francis, who has also railed against the dangers brought on by unrestrained capitalism, has pledged to listen to what the billionaire has to say during their meeting next week.
“I never make a judgment about a person without hearing him out,” he said last Saturday during a trip to Portugal.
With News Wire Services