President Trump and Pope Francis, the two most powerful men in the world met for the first time since they had a public Twitter spat during the U.S. Presidential Election in February 2016.  Trump arrived at the Vatican in the early hours of Wednesday morning on a whirlwind 19-hour trip after meeting with Muslim leaders in Saudi Arabia and visiting sacred sites in Jerusalem in what has been dubbed a tour of world religions.

President Trump and Pope Francis, the world’s two most powerful men with outsized characters meet for the first time face-to-face during Trump’s official visit to the Vatican on 24 May 2017. Credit: Alessandra Tarantino/Associated Press

Trump and Pope Francis met privately for 30 minutes in the Apostolic Palace where they took photos and exchanged gifts as is customary.  Pope Francis presented President Trump with traditional Papal documents for Heads of States.

Within the documents was a copy of the Pope’s 2015 encyclical or his own latest writings including his work calling for significant cuts in fossil-fuel emissions, a position Trump opposes.

“Well, I will be reading them,” Trump was heard saying.

The Pope also gave President Trump a large medallion depicting an olive branch which symbolizes peace.  The medallion is traditionally given to diplomats or politicians.

President Trump and the Pope exchanged gifts as is customary. Above the Pope presenting his gift of Papal documents to the President at the Vatican on 24 May 2017. Credit: Evan Vicci/AFP/Getty Images

Acknowledging the symbolism of the gift, Trump said, “We can use peace.”

The Pope responded with his own message, “I signed it personally for you.”

President Trump then presented Pope Francis with a large box of written works by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “This is a gift for you. I think you will enjoy them,” Trump was heard saying, “I hope you do.”

As he was leaving Trump said of the man he once called “disgraceful” for questioning his faith,

“Thank you, thank you.  I won’t forget what you said.”

When asked later of the meeting with the more liberal Argentinian Pontiff, he described it as “great.”

“He is something…We had a fantastic meeting,” Trump said of the Pope.

The Pope shaking hands with Ivanka Trump during an introduction while her father President Trump watches on Wednesday 24 May 2017 at the Vatican. Credit: EPA

Soon thereafter, the President spent almost an hour speaking with the Vatican’s head of Parliament, Pietro Parolin.  Secretary of State Rex Tillerson later described that meeting as a “good exchange on climate change.”

A statement by the Holy See later described the meeting as “cordial” saying “satisfaction was expressed” for a good relationship with the Vatican and their “joint commitment in favour of life, freedom of worship and conscience.

President Trump and Pope Francis have had a tumultuous relationship driven in large by the men’s outsized characters. Above is a response then candidate Trump to the Pope after he questioned his faith and criticized his policies. 24 May 2017. Credit: Facebook

“It is hoped that there may be serene collaboration between the state and the Catholic Church in the United States, engaged in service to the people in the fields of healthcare, education and assistance to immigrants,” read the statement.

The meeting between two of the world’s most intriguing men each stubborn in his conviction is an encounter that had been highly anticipated. The Pope who preaches peace and is an advocate for open borders and unrestricted immigration sat down with a brash billionaire businessman turned politician who embodies American extravagance and is tough on immigration and border security.

The Trumps and Jared Kushner at the Sistine Chapel under Michaelangelos crucifix on 24 May 2017. Credit: AFP/Getty Images

Although the wall became the subject of an infamous public spat between the two men with outsized personalities, the Pope who is a political animal himself felt it was his moral duty to criticize then candidate Donald Trump during the hotly contested U.S. Presidential election campaign season by questioning his faith, a decision widely condemned in the U.S.

“A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be and not building bridges is not Christian.”

President Trump with Pope Frances accompanied by First Lady Melania Trump, Ivanka and other senior White House officials and delegates on 24 May 2017. Credit: Reuters

Trump dismissed the comments and fired back by calling the Pontiff’s comments “disgraceful” before pointing out the hypocrisy of the man who lived behind massive walls at the Vatican.”

“If and when the Vatican is attacked by ISIS, which 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 tweeted.

Dan Scavino’s tweet in response to his condemnation ofTrump’s proposed tough immigration policy. Credit: Twitter

Dan Scavino, Trump’s social media Director also weighed in calling the Pope’s comments hypocritical tweeting,

“Amazing comments from the Pope – considering Vatican City is 100% surrounded by massive walls.”

President Trump was accompanied to the Vatican to meet the Pope by the beautiful, always elegant and classy First Lady Melania Trump and daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner.  The Trump ladies were all dressed in traditional black lace dresses and veils, appropriate for the occasion.

President at the Vatican on Wednesday during the 3rd leg of his journey is accompanied by his wife Melania Trump (R), daughter Ivanka Trump (2nd L) and son-in-law Jared Kushner (L) – 24 May 2017. Credit: Reuters

When visiting the Vatican and meeting with the Pope, there is a strict dress code or protocol to be adhered for ladies according to the website. According to the Vatican website rules, modest dressing involves covering your shoulders for those attending a Papal Audience particularly indoors.  Both The Trump ladies appears properly dressed with First Melania opting for a modest knee-length black dress with a black veil over her her an arms covered.

While the strict dress code has been relaxed, Melania appears to be a stickler of rules as she is thought to be a Catholic herself, a point made evident when she asked the Pope to bless her Rosary beads during the visit.  Her stepdaughter Ivanka chose to wear a black veil, too, while at the Vatican despite having converted to Judaism before marrying her Jewish husband, Jared Kushner.

The two Trump women, Ivanka (L) and her stepmother also First Lady Melania stuck to the Vatican dress protocol by wearing black and covered their heads despite the easing of rules. 24 My 2017. Credit: Alessandra Tarantino/AFP/Getty Images


Other senior members of the White House including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, National Security Advisor General H.R. McMaster and personal assistant Keith Schiller were part of the delegation that met the Pope with the President.

Trump and First Lady Melania were later taken for a tour of the Sistine Chapel after which Mrs. Trump visited a children’s hospital at the Vatican in Rome.  Ivanka on the other hand visited Sant’Egidio Charity Centre.

First Lady Melania Trump at the Vatican in Rome visiting children at Bambino Gesu Chidren’s Hospital – 24 May 2017. Credit: Remo Casilia/AP

The Trumps and their entourage later left the Vatican for Belgium where President Trump is expected to attend a NATO summit with other world leaders.  He will then depart for Sicily for the G7 Summit on Friday which is the fifth and final leg of the journey before Air Force One heads back to Washington DC.


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