President Trump meets the pope, and Twitter rejoices

Cheryl Sanders
May 25, 2017

The seemingly genial meeting offered no hint of the rocky start to the pair's relationship a year ago, when the Argentinian pontiff questioned then-candidate Trump's Christian credentials, the report said.

In exchange, the pope presented Trump with a medallion that depicted an olive branch as well as some of his latest writings on climate change - the very same topic the pair clashed about previous year.

"What do you give him to eat, potizza?" the Pope asked the first lady, referring to a Slovenian treat.

As he left the pope, Trump was overheard to say: "Thank you".

The Vatican highlighted in its statement that it hopes to continue providing "assistance to immigrants" as well as health care and education services in the US.

Trump and the pontiff have disagreed in the past on issues including environmental protection.

The pair exchanged several gifts: Trump gave Francis books by Martin Luther King Jr., and the pope also gave Trump an emblem of an olive tree, representing the need to pursue peace.

The US president was greeted by Archbishop Georg Ganswein, the head of the papal household, and escorted by the Swiss Guard to the offices of Pope Francis. But Francis underscored his concern by including among his gifts to Trump a copy of a document he has written denouncing human contributions to climate change.

"If and when the Vatican is attacked by ISIS, which as everyone knows is ISIS' ultimate trophy, I can promise you that the pope would have only wished and prayed that Donald Trump would have been president", Trump said during the campaign.

"I signed it personally for you", the Pope offered. "We had a fantastic meeting." he said.

Francis gave the president a small sculptured olive tree and told him through the interpreter that it symbolised peace.

If anything, the differences sharpened in the days leading up to Trump's visit to the Vatican on Wednesday, with Trump still dithering on whether to keep the US within the Paris Climate Agreement, which Francis supports. Tillerson, according to a White House pool report, said to expect Trump to be "tough" on North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members regarding cost sharing.

Trump's visit to the the Vatican is part of a nine-day foreign tour, which has already seen him deliver speeches in Saudi Arabia and Jerusalem.

The president's delegation also included Ivanka's husband Jared Kishner, a top White house aide and National security adviser H.R. McMaster. He will tell me what he thinks.

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