Donald Trump hails Vatican meeting with Pope Francis as 'an honour'
- Author: Leroy Wright May 25, 2017,
May 25, 2017, 19:15
He gave Trump three bound papal documents that he has written that to some degree define his papacy and priorities.
MALCOLM BRABANT: Today, instead of barbs, they exchanged gifts.
Trump's visit to the Eternal City comes after two stops in the Middle East where he visited the cradles of Islam and Judaism.
The US president sparked fears of an end to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation when he dismissed the world's biggest military alliance as "obsolete" while on the campaign trail and mortified the European Union by backing Brexit.
He arrived late Wednesday in Brussels.
But while Trump received extravagantly warm welcomes in Riyadh and Jerusalem, the reception could grow cooler now that he's reached Europe, site of widespread protests after his election.
In Brussels, a city he once dubbed a "hellhole", Mr Trump faced thousands of protesters ahead of his first summits on Thursday with leaders of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and the European Union. Their spats include the Pope describing plans for a border wall with Mexico as not Christian, and Mr Trump evoking a possible Islamist attack on the Vatican that would make the Pontiff glad to have him as President.
Trump also told the pope he was committing more than $300 million (270 million euros) to help prevent or tackle starvation in Yemen and several countries in Africa.
There was none of that on Wednesday.
Mr Trump's audience with the 80-year-old Pontiff, a keenly anticipated highlight of his first overseas tour, lasted just under half an hour and concluded with both men beaming, for the cameras at least. Exactly a half-hour later, the ringing of a bell signified the end of the private encounter.
The Pope blessed a rosary for the first lady, traded jokes with the first daughter, Ivanka Trump and husband Jared Kushner, and handed out tokens to the President's delegation. The first lady previously made headlines when she skipped the headscarf during their visit to Saudi Arabia. We had a fantastic meeting and we had a fantastic tour, it was really attractive.
Ivanka Trump has held meetings at the White House on human trafficking.
"Satisfaction was expressed for the good existing bilateral relations between the Holy See and the United States of America, as well as the joint commitment in favour of life, and freedom of worship and conscience", the statement said.
In reality, Trump has only visited his wife's home country once, and his diet is decidedly simpler and much more American, favoring fast food and Diet Coke.