Commending Christina Jeffrey for her tenacity in trying to clear her name, House Speaker Newt Gingrich agreed to meet this week with the House historian he fired in January for her controversial review of a Holocaust education program.
In a Nov. 13 letter to Jeffrey, Gingrich (R-Ga.) wrote, “I recognize it has been a long and difficult journey for you. I commend your tenacity.”
Gingrich agreed to meet Thursday with Jeffrey and Anti-Defamation League National Director Abraham Foxman, who came to Jeffrey’s defense in August, saying that she was unfairly stigmatized and mislabeled anti-Semitic upon her dismissal.
Gingrich said he intends to discus with Jeffrey and Foxman “the difficult and often unfair treatment appointees receive in the political process.”
He also suggested the possibility of appointing her to another official position in the House of Representatives. The position of House historian has since been abolished.
“If Newt has a position or a job for Christina Jeffrey, I would be very supportive,” said Foxman. “I’m ready to give my blessing if that’s what it needs.”
Gingrich hand-picked Jeffrey to serve as House historian in January, but quickly dismissed her after learning that, as a consultant for the Education Department in 1986, she had criticized a junior high-school Holocaust course for not presenting “the Nazi point of view.”
An associate professor at Kennesaw State College in Marietta, Ga., Jeffrey has spent the past 11 month trying to clear her name.
“It strikes me as unprecedented,” Jeffrey said in welcoming Gingrich’s decision to meet with her. She added that the speaker appears to recognize “we have something to learn here” about the way Washington treats people.
Although Jeffrey said full exoneration would involve her reinstatement as House historian, she hopes that Thursday’s meeting will allow her to set the record straight about the facts surrounding her dismissal.
In a recent showing of what she characterized as her longtime support for Jews and Israel, Jeffrey and her husband signed a book of mourning at the Israeli Consulate in Atlanta after the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.
Recognized by the consul general, Jeffrey and her husband were escorted to the front of the line – ahead of such notables as Rep. John Linder (R-Ga.). They wrote, “Our condolences to the Rabin family and to Israel. We are praying for the unity and security of Israel.”