POPE FRANCIS/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “President Trump wants to meet Pope Francis when he visits Europe next month. But the two world leaders have clashed in the past.
‘Obviously, we’d be honored to have an audience with His Holiness,’ White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters at Wednesday’s [4-19-17] press briefing. In response, Archbishop Angelo Becciu told the Italian news agency ANSA that ‘Pope Francis is always ready to receive heads of state who request an audience.’
But should they meet, the détente would come just a little more than a year after Pope Francis made remarks that some took as targeted at Trump, leading Trump to fire back at him.
The feud began in February 2016, when Pope Francis planned to make a trip to pray with migrants along the U.S. border with Mexico. Then-presidential candidate Trump implied Mexico was using Pope Francis as a pawn and said, ‘I think that the pope is a very political person,’ the New York Times reports.
Pope Francis fired back days later aboard his papal plane returning from Mexico, in response to a question about Trump’s plan to build a border wall and deport undocumented immigrants.
‘A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian,’ Francis said. On Trump’s accusation about him being ‘political’ with Mexico, he said, ‘Aristotle defined human person as *animal politicus.* So at least I am human person.’ “
-Tessa Berenson, “President Trump Wants to Meet Pope Francis. The Two Have Clashed in the Past,” TIME magazine, April 20, 2017