Throwing chaos aside, Trump aims for caution on big trip

The archbishop of NY said Wednesday he is confident Pope Francis - who has implicitly criticized Donald Trump in the past - spoke candidly with the President at their Vatican meeting.

Trump appeared upbeat and smiling for the cameras throughout most of the 30-minute get-together that was also attended by his wife, first lady Melania Trump, as well his daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner.

Following the meeting, which was behind closed doors, the pontiff gifted Trump a medal by a Roman artist depicting an olive - a symbol of peace - as well as a signed message of peace and copies of his three main teaching documents.

"I pray that the Pope has gotten through to Trump about climate change, because Trump doesn't realize how important that is".

Francis and Trump are unlikely to criticize each other so bluntly when they meet - at least in public, said Andrea Tornielli, a veteran Vatican watcher with Italy's La Stampa newspaper.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who spoke to reporters aboard Air Force One as it flew from Rome to Brussels, said it's unclear if climate change came up during Trump's audience with the pope.

"We can use peace", the president responded.

While Trump received 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 addition, Trump proposed a budget on Tuesday that would decimate climate science research across the federal government, making it harder for scientists to keep tabs on the changing planet.

Pope Francis became a top trending item on Twitter during his meeting with the Trumps, garnering approximately 60,000 tweets in a short period.

"Honor of a lifetime to meet His Holiness Pope Francis".

In a statement, the Vatican said only that 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. Trump fired back that it was "disgraceful" for the Pope to question his faith.

First lady Melania Trump, wearing a black lace dress and veil, also exchanged a few words with the Pope, who drew on her Slovenian heritage to make a personal connection. But the timing Wednesday was tight as Francis had his weekly Wednesday general audience.

The president's visit to the Vatican on May 24 was the latest stop on his first trip overseas, Politico reports.

This story has been corrected to reflect the pope asked about potica, not pizza.

  • Zachary Reyes