Tensions in their past, Trump and Pope Francis meet

As part of his global, interfaith tour that began in Saudi Arabia, President Trump met with Pope Francis Wednesday at the Vatican to discuss peace, religion, and surprisingly, climate change.

"I think you will enjoy them", the president told the pope.

During the election campaign, Francis criticized Trump's promise to build a wall on the Mexican border and his declaration that the USA should turn away Muslim immigrants and refugees. "Over the weekend he stopped in Saudi Arabia, where he delivered an address to Muslim leaders, and Monday through Tuesday he visited Israel and the West Bank and met with Israeli and Palestinian leaders. window.isStoryPage = true; if (!document.getElementById ("slideshow-css")) { $("head").append ("); }._sc_title.

Donald Trump vowed Wednesday to use his USA presidency to promote peace around the world after what he depicted as an inspirational meeting with Pope Francis.

President Donald Trump arrives to meet Pope Francis on the occasion of their private audience, at the Vatican, Wednesday, May 24, 2017.

The president has repeatedly insisted that he did nothing improper and has said he has been informed he is not under investigation.

Tensions have abated amid Trump's appointment of pro-life judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court and the nomination of Callista Gingrich, wife of former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich, as United States ambassador to the Vatican.

Trump's visit to the Vatican is part of his first trip overseas as president, and follows an initial leg in Saudi Arabia and a visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories. Income inequality is a serious concern for the pope - the billionaire president plans to rewrite the US tax code to make the wealthy even richer. Smiling broadly, Trump was heard to say "thank you so much", before commenting, "it is such an honour to be here".

It was not just the comparison between Trump and Obama meeting the Pope that had Twitter's attention.

Community officials said several women will chat with Trump.

Without naming Trump, the pope said: "A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian".

I wish he would pass the information to the heads of the EPA, Energy Department and other agencies for their benefit, but they weren't selected for having open minds on the subject.

President Donald Trump and Pope Francis are exchanging gifts after a private meeting.

Mr Trump said his gift for Francis, wrapped in a big blue box, was "books from Martin Luther King".

Pope Francis shared a light moment with First Lady Melania Trump.

Pope Francis' visit to South Korea in 2014 left a lasting impression on the Korean people as it was packed with meetings with the country's marginalized - grieving families who lost their loved ones in the Sewol disaster, disabled people living in a rehabilitation center, North Korean defectors settled in the country and migrant workers mostly from Southeast Asian countries. Francis also differs sharply with Trump on the need to combat climate change and economic inequality.

Today's meeting included an exchange of handshakes between first lady Melania Trump and the pope - during which the pontiff asked her what she feeds the president. Both leaders, who have contrasting views on several crucial issues discussed worldwide affairs in a brief meeting which lasted 20 minutes.

Francis presented Trump with his usual gifts to world leaders: copies of his social encyclical, Laudato Si, his two apostolic exhortations Amoris Laetitia and Evangelii Gaudium, and a signed copy of his World Day of Peace Message for this year.

"For a religious leader to question a person's faith is disgraceful", Trump had shot back. "I look forward to working with these leaders towards a lasting peace", said Trump.

  • Carolyn Briggs