White House counsel Pat Cipollone and Fox News commentator Laura Ingraham and their families have been close friends for multiple years. Ingraham described Cipollone as an “old friend” in her 2007 book, Power to the People, and explained that he had been instrumental in her conversion to Catholicism.
During the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump in the Senate, Ingraham’s program on Fox may serve as an outlet into how Cipollone, who is leading the defense team, views the proceedings as they unfold. Former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus publicly commented days before the trial began that Ingraham’s views on the case are aligned with Cipollone, who strongly defended the president’s right to executive privilege in an October 2019 letter to House Democrats.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. Priebus: If You Want to Know Where Pat Cipollone’s Head Is At, Listen to Laura Ingraham
Pat Cipollone has been described as a “strong and silent” type by President Trump. He does not grant interviews and is known to stay away from the spotlight. Cipollone’s reputation would indicate that he will not comment publicly outside of the Senate chamber about how the impeachment trial is going.
But former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus is of the opinion that Cipollone’s close friend Laura Ingraham could serve as a window into how Cipollone views the trial. Priebus appeared on “Steve Bannon’s War Room: Impeachment” podcast on January 17, days before the Senate trial was set to begin.
Priebus described Cipollone as “extremely thorough, understated, knows more than he presents” and that the president highly respects him. At the 51:00 mark in the video embedded above, Priebus stated that Cipollone is “very close to Laura Ingraham. I’ve always said, if you want to know, kind of, where Pat’s head is at, listen to Laura on Fox News. And I think there’s a lot of similarity in the way they view the legalities of this case and this matter.”
2. Laura Ingraham Says Her Path to Catholicism Began With ‘Heartfelt Conversations’ With Pat Cipollone, Whom She Describes as Her Godfather
Laura Ingraham explained in an interview with CSPAN in 2005 that she was raised Northern Baptist, but that her mother had been Catholic. Ingraham says that growing up, she thought that the institutions and traditions of the Catholic Church, such as the rite of Confession and the guidance of the Pope, were “silly” and “ridiculous.” She went so far as to say that she had been “anti-Catholic in a way for a long time.”
But Ingraham eventually converted to Catholicism. She was baptized during Easter in 2003, also undergoing First Communion and Confirmation.
In her 2007 book Power to the People, Ingraham explained that Cipollone, a devoted Catholic with ties to several Catholic organizations, had played a major role in her change of thinking. “My conversion began with heartfelt conversations I had with Pat Cipollone, an old friend who would eventually become my godfather. I did what most curious God-seekers do – I read the Bible, reflected on the Gospels, and really focused on praying. I found myself praying all the time – while brushing my teeth, on the treadmill, on the drive to the studio.”
3. Ingraham Says the Cipollones Provided a ‘Second Home’ to Her During Her Cancer Battle
Pat Cipollone and his wife Rebecca were very supportive of Laura Ingraham after she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005, as the Fox host shared in her memoir. Ingraham wrote that the Cipollones “provided a fun, happy place to call my second home” as she was undergoing treatments.
She suggested that Cipollone had even attended doctor appointments with her. Ingraham shared that Cipollone was able to make her laugh “even at oncology appointments.”
Cipollone was one of the first people Ingraham reached out to about her diagnosis. During an interview with CSPAN, Ingraham said that she texted Cipollone immediately after getting a voicemail from her doctor, asking that she call the office. “I almost dropped the phone. It was one of those things when your [heart] starts to boom-boom, boom-boom, and I was instant messaging with my friend Pat Cipollone, who is also my godfather, one of the most brilliant lawyers in Washington, I e-mail him, I said, ‘Pat, I think this is bad news.'”
4.Laura Ingraham is Godmother to One of Pat Cipollone’s Daughters
Pat and Rebecca Cipollone’s daughter, Sofia, was born in 2005. Her godmother is Laura Ingraham. The Fox commentator explained in her book that after she was diagnosed with breast cancer in April 2005, the Cipollones asked her to take on an important role in their family: godmother to their new daughter.
“My greatest moment of joy during this period was when my friends Pat and Becky, a few weeks into my illness, asked me to be godmother to their daughter, who was due in the early summer. Sofia was born on the day I started chemotherapy.”
5. Pat Cipollone’s Oldest Daughter, Mary Elisa, Worked For the ‘Ingraham Angle’ at Fox News
Pat Cipollone’s oldest daughter, Mary Elisa, worked directly with Laura Ingraham. Elisa accepted a job as a booker for The Ingraham Angle in December of 2017, according to her LinkedIn profile. She was promoted to Associate Producer a few months later.
It’s unclear whether Elisa is still in that role or whether she has moved on. Her Twitter bio still says that she works for the Ingraham Angle, but she has not tweeted since June of 2019. Elisa’s Instagram profile is set to private.
Elisa also completed a summer internship at Fox News in 2014, while she was in college.