Senate Confirms Woman With No Diplomatic Experience To Be Ambassador To Vatican

The Senate has confirmed Callista Gingrich to be Ambassador to the Vatican:

Callista Gingrich will be the next US ambassador to the Vatican.

In a 70-23 vote, the US Senate confirmed her nomination Monday night. The move had been widely expected since President Donald Trump announced her nomination in May.

The Vatican declined to comment Tuesday.

Gingrich, 51, a lifelong Catholic, is perhaps best-known as the third wife of former House speaker and Trump ally Newt Gingrich. She is credited with helping to convert her husband to Catholicism in 2009.

Callista Gingrich worked for 19 years in Congress as a congressional aide in the House of Representatives and as chief clerk of the House agriculture committee.

But it is her experience as one half of a DC power couple that she will most need to draw on while navigating the wide waters between the President and the Pope.

Ambassador Gingrich will be representing a US administration, which is at odds with Pope Francis’ Vatican on issues such as the environment, immigration and refugees.

In her Senate confirmation hearing in July, Gingrich attempted to bridge that gap.

“The Pope and the President share a great concern about our environment,” she said. “If confirmed, I look forward to working with the Holy See as the United States pursues a balanced approach to climate policy.”

On other issues, such as abortion, freedom of religion and protection of persecuted Christians, the Vatican and the Trump administration are more closely aligned.

When Trump met with Pope Francis in May, the Vatican said they shared a “joint commitment in favor of life and freedom of worship and conscience.”

Newt Gingrich, in an August interview with Politico, said he is ready to help his wife and has already participated in the US State Department’s “spouse school” training for husbands and wives of diplomats abroad.

“I’ll be the person at the front door saying, ‘Hi, I’m Newt Gingrich. The ambassador will be down shortly,'” he told Politico. “It’s a great new role. Callista supported me in ’12 when I ran for president; I get to support her now. And I get to join the spouse organization.”

Some might argue that Ambassador to the Vatican is not necessarily an important position compared to, say, Ambassador to Russia, China, or one of our close allies. However, given the role that Pope Francis and other recent Popes such as Benedict XVI and John Paul II have played in international affairs in the past one would think it would be worthwhile to have someone with diplomatic experience in the position. Additionally, there’s the rather obvious fact that Gingrich was having an affair with Newt Gingrich while he was Speaker of the House and married to another woman, something that even this lapsed Catholic knows isn’t exactly in line with the Catechism of the Roman Catholic Church, making this a somewhat bizarre appointment. Of course, this is the Donald Trump Era where bizarre is standard operating procedure so I guess we shouldn’t be surprised or shocked.

On the upside, this does mean that Newt will be out of the country for the majority of the foreseeable future so maybe this isn’t a bad idea after all.


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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    No diplomatic experience?
    That’s the least of it.
    She’s a fvcking adulteress.
    Like the rest of this administration, she is the anti-thesis of a Christian.

  2. Pete S says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl: Whatever her past behaviour may be, she is at least a nominal member of the Catholic Church. This makes her massively overqualified as a Trump appointee.

  3. MikeyParks says:

    If Obama can be president of the U.S., anybody can be anything.

  4. Paul L. says:

    Please share the Diplomatic Experience of Dan Rooney Ambassador to Ireland

  5. Franklin says:

    @MikeyParks: That’s an inspiring quote for our children!

    (I assume it’s a given that Trump is a man-child himself.)

  6. Slugger says:

    Ambassadorships have often gone to prominent people (i.e. rich people) with some affinity to the corresponding nation who served largely ceremonial duties while the work was done by staff. Thus lots ambassadors to Italy, Israel, and Ireland were important people who were of the relevant ethnicity. My personal favorite is the appointment of Joe Kennedy, Sr. to the Court of St. James; by this FDR gave a big middle finger to Britain.
    Papa Francisco will be understanding of what all this means and will handle it graciously.

  7. Gromitt Gunn says:

    To be fair, no one in the upper echelon of the Vatican has any idea how to communicate with living, breathing women, so they will be on equal footing.

  8. M. Bouffant says:

    You really think Newtie will be in the Vatican a lot? W/ the chance to stay home & “audition” wife no. 4, I rather doubt it. Callista should know better.

  9. Mark says:

    Vegas has set Duh Over/Under on Newt’s Coming Out With 3rd Mistress and Fourth Religion at:

    Jan. 22, 2018

    Please place your bets in a calm, orderly, non-Mandalay Bay fashion. No pushing, shoving, kicking, gouging, biting, spitting, or bump stocks, please. Your cooperation is appreciated, but not expected.

  10. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    “The Vatican declined to comment on Tuesday.”

    That, ladies and gentlemen, is the money quote.

  11. Moosebreath says:

    Meh. She doesn’t even make the top 20 of bad Trump appointees. Maybe not even top 50.

  12. al-Alameda says:

    To be honest, I wish Trump would send Zinke, DeVos, Pruitt, Carson, Perry, Sessions, Mnuchin, Mulvaney and Pompeo to the Vatican along with Newt and Calista.

    On the bright side, this is an appointment that keeps her out of the country for extended periods.

  13. MarkedMan says:

    My favorite quote about the adulterous former speaker of the house: “Newt Gingrich is a stupid persons idea of what a smart person is like.”*

    *Unfortunately a quick search search credits three different people with this quote.

  14. DrDaveT says:

    Gingrich, 51, a lifelong Catholic, is perhaps best-known as the third wife of

    You can stop the quote right there. Which is it; is she a Catholic, or a third wife?

    Kinda like saying “Thompson, 37, a lifelong Quaker, is perhaps best known as the platoon leader of Seal Team 27…”

  15. Stormy Dragon says:

    Considering we’re talking about the diplomat to a church, I think this appointment takes it about as seriously as it deserves to be taken.

  16. Bob The Arqubusier says:

    Sheesh, you don’t give semi-important ambassadorships to people with the right political connections but no diplomatic experience. You give those people important ambassadorships.

    Funny how it was no big deal around here when Obama named Caroline Kennedy as ambassador to Japan…

  17. gVOR08 says:

    Glancing at the list of ambassadors to the Holy See on WIKI I see a mix of fairly well credentialed, albeit not in the foreign service, individuals and political donors. Calista isn’t remotely qualified, which leads one to wonder what exactly Newt did for Trump.

  18. Joe says:


    Which is it; is she a Catholic, or a third wife?

    To be a bit technical – because I am not only Catholic, but Jesuit trained – she’s his third wife. It could be her first marriage. I don’t know. She could also have annulled any prior marriage. If Newt wasn’t married in the Catholic church before, the Catholic church wouldn’t recognize those wedding anyway. See. It’s just that simple.