Trump, Fran­cis have pri­vate meet­ing at the Vatican

New Straits Times - - World -


PRES­I­DENT Don­ald Trump and Pope Fran­cis, two lead­ers with con­trast­ing styles and dif­fer­ing world views, met here yes­ter­day, set­ting aside their pre­vi­ous clashes to broad­cast a tone of peace for an au­di­ence around the globe.

Trump, mid­way through his gru­elling nine-day maiden in­ter­na­tional jour­ney, called upon the pon­tiff at the Vatican yes­ter­day, where the two had a pri­vate meet­ing laden with re­li­gious sym­bol­ism and an­cient pro­to­col.

The pres­i­dent, ac­com­pa­nied by his wife and sev­eral aides, ar­rived at the Vatican just af­ter 8am. He greeted Fran­cis in Sala del Tronetto, the room of the lit­tle throne, on the sec­ond floor of Apos­tolic Palace.

Upon com­plet­ing their meet­ing, the pope gave the pres­i­dent a medal fea­tur­ing an olive branch, a sym­bol of peace, among other gifts.

“We can use peace,” the pres­i­dent re­sponded.

The visit be­gan with a hand­shake be­tween the two men.

Trump could be heard thank­ing the pope and say­ing it was “a great hon­our” to be there. They then posed for pho­to­graphs be­fore sit­ting down at the pa­pal desk, the pope un­smil­ing, as their pri­vate meet­ing be­gan.

It ended a half hour later when Fran­cis rang the bell in his pri­vate study. The pon­tiff was then in­tro­duced to mem­bers of Trump’s del­e­ga­tion, in­clud­ing his wife Me­la­nia, his daugh­ter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kush­ner, as well as aides Hope Hicks and Dan Scavino.

Smil­ing, Fran­cis had a light mo­ment with the First Lady, ask­ing via trans­la­tor, “What do you give him to eat, pizza?”

Me­la­nia gig­gled and said “Pizza? Yes.”

As is tra­di­tion, the pope and pres­i­dent ex­changed gifts. Trump pre­sented the pon­tiff with books writ­ten by Martin Luther King Jr, say­ing: “I think you’ll en­joy them. I hope you do.”

The pope pre­sented Trump with the medal, a mes­sage of peace and three bound pa­pal doc­u­ments that to some de­gree de­fine his pa­pacy and pri­or­i­ties.

When Trump de­parted, he told the pope: “Thank you, I won’t forget what you said.” AP


Pope Fran­cis with United States Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and his wife, Me­la­nia (cen­tre), son-in-law Jared Kush­ner (left) and daugh­ter Ivanka (sec­ond from left) dur­ing a pri­vate au­di­ence at the Vatican yes­ter­day.

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