Donald Trump holds Vatican meeting with Pope Francis

"What do you give him [Trump] to eat, potica?".

As Mr Trump and the pope said goodbye at the door of the study, Mr Trump told him: "Thank you, thank you".

Pope Francis has met with Donald Trump at the Vatican this morning for just under half an hour.

Trump responded to the criticism by noting that the Pope has "an awfully big wall at the Vatican".

The president and the First Lady, Melania Trump, his daughter Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner, and other members of the USA delegation were met by an honor guard of Swiss Guards inside the Apostolic Palace just before 8.30 am after traveling across Rome amid tight security. Both Melania and the President's daughter opted to wear the traditional black clothes and mantilla veil worn by women during papal audiences, even though the Pope has loosened protocol in this area. They then posed for photographs and then sat down at the papal desk, the pope unsmiling, as their private meeting began.

The pope told Trump he signed the message "personally for you".

A Vatican source said they could not clear up the issue, but noted that Francis is a fan of potica, a kind of nut roll, and that he always asks about it when he meets someone from Slovenia. Francis, in reference to then-candidate Trump's plan to build a wall along the U.S. -Mexico border, said: "A person who only thinks about building walls, wherever they may be, and not about building bridges, is not a Christian".

Human rights groups had urged Francis to raise United States use of the death penalty and the issues of torture and targeted assassinations with Trump.

The two leaders have diametrically opposing views on issues as varied as immigration, climate change and arms sales. "As well as the joint commitment in favour of life, and freedom of worship and conscience". "This is a man that's come across as the greatest prophet and protection of the poor and vulnerable and marginalized throughout the world".

Shortly after his visit with Pope Francis on Wednesday, President Trump took to Twitter to praise the pontiff and highlight the Vatican meeting's main focus - the quest for peace. Income inequality is a serious concern for the pope - the billionaire president plans to rewrite the USA tax code to make the wealthy even richer. The Vatican said that meeting, which was also private, lasted about 50 minutes.

In standard practice, the pope gave rosaries to the president's visiting US delegation, including first lady Melania Trump and the president's son-in-law and daughter, White House advisers Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump. Also handed over was the Pope's apostolic exhortations on the family and the Church's evangelical mission.

Donald Trump is known as a climate change skeptic with a short attention span for reading, especially if the text isn't about him. Trump smiled broadly as the camera shutters clicked but Francis kept a straight face and looked to the floor at points.

"No president has ever visited the homelands and holy sites of the Jewish, Christian, and Muslims faiths all on one trip", said US National Security Advisor HR McMaster, describing Trump as bringing "a message of tolerance and of hope to billions".

"It is my desire that you become an olive tree to construct peace", the Pope said, speaking in Spanish. Trump also met with Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin and Secretary for Relations with States Paul Richard Gallagher. Obama also chose not to wear a headscarf in Saudi Arabia and at the time, the President criticized the decision tweeting: "Many people are saying it was wonderful that Mrs. Obama refused to wear a scarf in Saudi Arabia, but they were insulted".

"Pizza?" the first lady was heard answering, seeming to try to clarify what the pope had just said.

Trump's daughter Ivanka was expected to take part in a round table on human trafficking at the Community of Sant'Egidio, a Catholic charity.

  • Zachary Reyes