President Trump tells Pope Francis: 'I won't forget what you said'

The two leaders have diametrically opposing views on issues as varied as immigration, climate change and arms sales.

For example, Pope Francis gave President Trump a large medallion depicting an olive branch as a symbol of peace. "Potica (a calorie-laden Slovenian cake)?". "I think you will enjoy them", the president told the pope.

Members of the Presidential delegation - which included First Lady Melania Trump; daughter Ivanka, son-in-law Jared Kushner, his assistant and senior advisor - all received a medal and a rosary blessed by the Holy Father. Afterwards, Trump said their interaction was "fantastic".

In 2013, he tweeted that "the new pope is a humble man, very much like me, which probably explains why I like him so much!"

But, alas, it appears the pope did smile for the cameras. When asked about his discussion with Francis, Trump said it had gone very well.

The Pope joked around with the president and his wife after their meeting.

This was his first meeting with the Pope after becoming the US President.

Trump's visit to Rome is his third stop on a nine-day worldwide trip that has seen him travel to Saudi Arabia and Israel, completing a tour of the spiritual homelands of the world's three main monotheistic religions.

Trump, midway through a grueling nine-day, maiden global journey, called upon the pontiff in a private, 30-minute meeting laden with religious symbolism and ancient protocol.

Mr. Trump has threatened to pull out of the Paris climate change agreement, reached in 2015 and ratified by most countries, but has said he will not decide before he meets the Group of Seven leaders, among them prime minister Justin Trudeau, at the G7 summit in Taormina, Sicily, on Friday and Saturday.

The Pope was then introduced to the U.S. president's entourage, which included: the First Lady; his eldest daughter, Ivanka; his son-in-law, Jared Kushner; Secretary of State Rex Tillerson; National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster and presidential spokeswoman Hope Hicks.

Mr Trump gave the pope a boxed set of five first-edition books by murdered United States civil rights leader Martin Luther King.

A statement released by the Vatican later said "satisfaction was expressed" at their "joint commitment in favor of life" and that there was hoped-for collaboration on health care and assistance to immigrants and protection of Christian communities in the Middle East.

"I signed it personally for you", the Pope offered. The pope said a year ago a man who thinks about building walls and not bridges is "not Christian".

After concluding the visit to Rome, Trump will leave for Brussels, where he will attend a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation meeting before returning to Italy to participate in the G-7 summit on May 26th and 27th in the Sicilian town of Taormina.

It was not clear if Melania Trump understood the pope.

  • Leroy Wright