Pope Francis Gives President Trump Some Pretty Pointed Gifts
- Author: Joe Gonzales May 25, 2017,
May 25, 2017, 1:23
Climate change activists projected the words "Planet Earth First" on the massive dome of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican Tuesday night and protests are expected later in the week when Trump travels to Brussels for a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation meeting and Sicily for a G-7 gathering. Join us in a conversation about world events, the newsgathering process or whatever aspect of the news universe you find interesting or important.
But if there was any friction when they finally met, it occurred behind closed doors.
Thanking the pope for the documents, the president said, "Well, I'll be reading them". "We had a fantastic meeting".
The discussions also included "an exchange of views" on global affairs and on "the promotion of peace in the world through political negotiation and interreligious dialogue, with particular reference to the situation in the Middle East and the protection of Christian communities".
Pope Francis gave Trump a split medallion held together by an olive tree, which his interpreter told Trump is "a symbol of peace".
The pope promised to seek common ground with Trump before the visit. Do you think they need to tone it down?
A statement released by the Vatican later said "satisfaction was expressed" at their "joint commitment in favor of life" and that there was hoped-for collaboration on health care and assistance to immigrants and protection of Christian communities in the Middle East. "Thank you. I won't forget what you said".
"I signed it personally for you", the Pope offered.
'I give it to you so you can be an instrument of peace, ' he said in Spanish.
Trump, meeting the pontiff for the first time, said he had "renewed" the USA "commitment to fighting global famine", with the United Nations warning that about 20 million people across Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen are at risk.
Trump gave the pope a first-edition set of writings from Martin Luther King Jr., including five books.
While Donald dropped in on Italy's President and met Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, Melania visited a children's hospital and Ivanka met women trafficked from Africa for the sex trade. All in all it seems to have been the usual, choreographed bit of performance art which characterizes most Papal meetings with heads of state.
But there have also been conciliatory moves. Trump later told reporters that Pope Francis "was something".
While his talks in Saudi Arabia and Israel were mostly friendly, the meeting between the head of the Roman Catholic Church and the thrice-married, blunt-spoken Trump had the potential to be a little more confrontational.
The Vatican also took a dim view of Trump's anti-Muslim campaign rhetoric, although he softened his tone considerably in a major speech in Riyadh.