The Odd Couple: President Trump Meets the Pope

In the meeting watched ’round the world, President Trump met with Pope Francis at the Vatican last week. The trip was of particular interest since the two men have shared several public and polarizing views.

Divided by a Wall

During the intense 2016 presidential campaign, the Pope went on record saying, “a person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian. This is not the gospel.” His words, of course, were in response to President Trump’s oft-publicized plans to build a wall between the United States and Mexico.

The President, never one to let a criticism go, was quick to fire back, calling the Pope’s words “disgraceful.” He also pointed out that the Pope has “an awfully big wall” around himself at the Vatican.

The Pope and the President also share notably opposing views regarding refugees and climate change.

Joined by the Family

During his visit with the Pope, the President was joined by Melania, as well as his daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner. U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was also present.

Though the President and the Pope have a reputation of unpredictability with regard to their public comments, visits between heads of state leave no room for unpredictability. On the contrary, the meeting was governed by political and religious protocol that followed a carefully planned agenda.

The President and the Pope greeted each other with a handshake and President Trump was observed saying, “Thank you so much.” Shortly thereafter, the pair made their way to the Pope’s private study where they took seats across from each other. Again the President was seen saying the visit was “a very great honor.” The media was then dismissed from the room so the two men could privately discuss issues for the next 30 minutes.

On the Agenda

The President and the Pope were expected to discuss issues like immigration and refugees. With Monday’s terror attack at the concert in Manchester, England, terrorism was no doubt an issue on the agenda as well.

Earlier, the Pope publicly shared his “heartfelt solidarity with all those affected by this senseless act of violence,” specifically mentioning the children who died. And though he refrained from identifying anyone responsible for the attack, he and the President do share common ground when it comes to denouncing religiously motivated violence.

The meeting ended when the Pope rang the bell in his private study–per protocol.

When the President emerged after the private meeting, he again thanked Pope Francis, saying, “I won’t forget what you said.” These words resulted in a firestorm of speculation about what he meant. Because the President’s Twitter account later posted that the President is more motivated than ever to create peace in the world, many have theorized that the President and Pope will work together moving forward to fight terrorism. The Vatican has confirmed that the pair discussed the volatile situation in the Middle East and the need for increased protection of Christians, in particular.

Gift Exchange

As is customary, the two leaders exchanged gifts during their time together. The Pope gave the President some of his personal writings on the issue of climate change, which the President said he would read. The President gave Pope Francis a series of first edition books authored by Dr. Martin Luther King, possibly because, in 2015, the Pope addressed Congress and quoted Dr. Martin Luther King.

Social Media Response

The meeting of the Pope and the President garnered a large social media reaction. One photo taken by the media, in particular, received a host of comments from the watching world. The photo showed a veiled First Lady and the President–each dressed in dark clothing–while on the other side of the President stood the Pope dressed in white grinning happily while exchanging something with the First Lady.

“Fantastic Tour”

President Trump’s visit with Pope Francis marked the third stop in his travels to the world’s three main monotheistic religions–having previously paid his respects to the leaders of Islam and Judaism. In President Trump’s words about the Pope, “He is something. He is really great. We had a fantastic meeting, and we had a fantastic tour.”

President Trump is only the 13th President to visit the Vatican. As part of the tour, he saw the Sistine Chapel.

~ Christian Patriot Daily


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