By Claire Zillman
August 22, 2017

Politico‘s Annie Karni has a thoroughly entertaining story on how Newt Gingrich, an outspoken Washington fixture and one-time presidential candidate, is learning to take on the new role of—essentially—silent spouse. Gingrich will accompany his wife Callista to Rome as she becomes ambassador to the Holy See, and—in a dramatic role reversal—the former speaker of the house will “have no official diplomatic role abroad, beyond being generally presentable and essentially not heard from,” Karni writes.

To prepare for his new responsibilities, Gingrich enrolled in what he refers to as “spouse school,” a State Department-run crash course for foreign affairs family members that covers topics like maintaining the official residence and entertaining as well as “legal issues and ethics” and “stress management.”

One of Gingrich’s main takeaways? “You always have two fridges,” he told Karni, “one for personal food, one for entertaining, so you’re not eating out of the taxpayer refrigerator. I didn’t know that.”

Gingrich comes off as gung-ho about what will be expected of him.

“I’ll be the person at the front door saying, ‘Hi, I’m Newt Gingrich. The ambassador will be down shortly.’ 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,” he said.

Politics aside—Callista Gingrich’s appointment has been criticized a kickback for her husband’s early support of Trump—considering all our talk about challenging gender stereotypes, it is refreshing to see the former house speaker publicly embrace a role often associated with women—and study for it, no less.



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