The Pope Gives Donald Trump Some Serious Side-Eye

Pope Francis basically called Trump fat.

Pope Francis is a jolly old chap. Just look at him here cracking up Obama in 2014.

Pope Francis meeting President Barack Obama in March 2014.
Pope Francis meeting President Barack Obama in March 2014.
Kevin Lamarque / Reuters

Or here delivering a papal dose of mirth to Angela Merkel in 2013 while they both fail miserably at rock, paper scissors.

Pope Francis and German Chancellor Angela Merkel in May 2013.
Pope Francis and German Chancellor Angela Merkel in May 2013.
POOL New / Reuters

Contrast that with today’s first face-to-face meeting with President Trump which looks like an outtake of The Adams Family movie deemed unfit for a PG audience.

What. A. Pic.
What. A. Pic.
Vatican Pool - Corbis via Getty Images

A press pool report of the meeting paints an even frostier picture.

“Thank you so much,” President Trump said to Pope Francis when they shook hands.

After shaking hands, the Pope and POTUS walked into the Pope’s
private study, which is just off the room where they shook hands.

When pool entered the study, the Pope and the president were seated
across from each other at the Pope’s wooden desk.

POTUS told the Pope it’s “a very great honour”.

The Pope did not say anything. He did not smile. He looked at pool
several times. We were quickly ushered out at 8:33am.

Which possibly explains this glorious side-eye.

Why so glum? Well the pair have a rocky relationship to say the least. Here’s a brief overview.

Upon completing their meeting today, 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 after each man arrived, Trump in a lengthy motorcade, Francis in a Ford Focus, report the Associated Press.

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.

As is tradition, the Pope and President exchanged gifts. Trump presented the pontiff with a custom-bound, first-edition set of Martin Luther King Jr.’s works, an engraved stone from the King memorial in Washington and a bronze sculpture of a flowering lotus titled “Rising Above.”

“I think you’ll enjoy them. I hope you do,” Trump said.

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, including the family and the environment.

The Pope told Trump he signed the message “personally for you.” Trump said he would read the books.

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

Afterward, as he met with Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, Trump said of the Pope: “He is something.”

“We had a fantastic meeting,” the President said. “It was an honour to be with the pope.”

Hours later, Trump tweeted the meeting was the “honour of a lifetime.” A statement released by the Vatican later said “satisfaction was expressed” at their “joint commitment in favour 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.

In recent days, Francis and Trump have been in agreement on a need for Muslim leaders to do more against extremists in their own communities. But there are few other areas where their views align.

The president’s prior anti-Muslim rhetoric - including his musing that Islam “hates” the West - is the antithesis of what the pope has been preaching about a need for dialogue with Muslims. Francis also differs sharply with Trump on the need to combat climate change and economic inequality.

Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama, had a private audience with Francis at the Vatican in 2014 that lasted 50 minutes. But the timing Wednesday was tight as Francis had his weekly Wednesday general audience. The thousands of pilgrims on hand forced Trump’s motorcade to enter Vatican City from a side entrance rather than the grand entrance through St. Peter’s Square.


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