Pope, US President Donald Trump smile through differences after first meeting

"We can use peace", Trump responded.

No president has done what Donald Trump has done on his first foreign trip: traveling to the cradle of the three Abrahamic religions - Judaism, Christianity and Islam- and then on to Rome, the seat of Catholicism. CNN's Chris Cillizza said, "The Vatican put out a nice statement after their meeting saying the two leaders talked about 'the promotion of peace in the world through political negotiation and [inter-religious] dialogue".

"It is with all hope that you may become an olive tree to make peace", the pope said to Trump.

The meeting was cordial. The pair exchanged gifts, with the president presenting Pope Francis with a large box filled with first-edition books written by Martin Luther King, one of which bears his signature.

"I think you'll enjoy them".

When the pope met the first lady, who was born in Slovenia, he asked her: "What do you give him to eat, potica?" a reference to a Slovenian pastry.

"Potizza", she said with a smile.

When he changed his mind, the Vatican squeezed him in at 8:30 a.m. on a Wednesday morning, an unusual day and an unusually early time.He later flew to Brussels where he was to meet Belgium's king and prime minister on Wednesday evening before a day of meetings with European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation leaders on Thursday.

"We had a fantastic meeting", the president said afterward.

"The Pope wasn't smiling (and he's a pretty smiley guy)'It's a very great honour" said Trump about the meeting to group of reporters.

Andrew Chesnut, professor of religious studies at Virginia Commonwealth University, told RNS on Wednesday the meeting was a "solid foundation for communication".

With his poll numbers at a record low for a recently-elected president, he will be hoping for a boost after rubbing shoulders with the popular pope.

Be Civil - It's OK to have a difference in opinion but there's no need to be a jerk.

The US Embassy to the Vatican lists the appropriate dress code for a visit. The previous record was held by George H.W. Bush, who visited Pope John Paul II 127 days into his presidency in 1989.

The audience took place in the private library of the Apostolic Palace, the official papal residence that Francis does not use, having opted instead for modest lodgings in a Vatican guesthouse.

It seemed to be a play on Mr Trump's "America First" slogan that has guided much of his young presidency. -Mexican border, among other anti-immigrant measures.

"A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian", Francis said. Their contrasting worldviews collided early previous year, when Francis was sharply critical of Trump's campaign pledge to build an impenetrable wall on the Mexican border and his declaration that the U.S. should turn away Muslim immigrants and refugees.

The Pope also has spoken out on issues related to refugees, the poor and war.

The Pope also gifted the USA president with a medallion he said symbolized peace and unity, which, after the translator explained in English, he added in Spanish: "Have it so that you become an instrument of peace".

Tillerson said Trump still has not made up his mind whether he'll withdraw the US from the 2015 deal.

Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner were part of the entourage, which also included Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and National Security Adviser HR McMaster.

  • Zachary Reyes