Pope Francis Gives Trump Copy of His Encyclical on Climate Change

Pope Francis met with President Trump at the Vatican today on the third leg of the USA commander in chief's first overseas trip since taking office. The meeting lasted 50 minutes.

No two world leaders would seem to have less in common.

But both of the texts - messages from the Pope himself - are available online, and it's clear that Francis had his reasons for handing them to Trump.

That theme was reflected in their words and their gifts.

The Pope also gifted him an olive tree medal that he said symbolizes peace.

Where Trump's and Francis' interests may align on peace and combating terrorism, they disagree sharply on issues like immigration and poverty. "That's so handsome", he told the pope.

"He is something", Trump said. For his part, Trump gave the Bishop of Rome a set of five first edition books by Martin Luther King - a rather pleasant present, by any measure. "I hope you do".

"I signed it personally for you", responded the Pope.

"We can use peace", said Trump.

Prompted by European Council President Donald Tusk, who called images of the Saudi visit "spectacular", Trump replied: "It was very spectacular".

While Trump flashed a wide grin, the Pope offered only a modest smile - his demeanor, business-like. Exactly a half-hour later, the ringing of a bell signified the end of the private encounter. The pontiff was then introduced to members of Trump's delegation, including his wife Melania, his daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner, as well as aides Hope Hicks and Dan Scavino.

The meeting at the Vatican was their first and was arranged at Trump's request.

The first lady laughed and said "Yes". 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. Afterwards, Trump said their interaction was "fantastic". "It was an honor to be with the pope".

The two men discussed "the promotion of peace in the world through political negotiation and interreligious dialogue" and homed in on the need to protect Christians in the Middle East, CNN quoted the Vatican statement.

He recently signed an executive order to unravel President Obama's plan to curb USA carbon emissions, and he approved the oil pipelines Dakota Access and Keystone XL.

Trump, who has called climate change a Chinese plot, is expected to announce whether the United States will pull out of the Paris Agreement to reduce global warming after the G7 Summit next week. But there are few other areas where their views align. He appreciated President Barack Obama's 2014 gift of seeds from the White House garden that were later planted at the summer papal retreat at Castelgandolfo. But the timing Wednesday was tight as Francis had his weekly Wednesday general audience.

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

  • Leroy Wright