Trump vows peace push after meeting with pope

Pope Francis and U.S. President Donald Trump met for the first time on Wednesday.

Sant'Egidio official Daniela Pompei said the closed-door encounter lasted 40 minutes and Trump asked the 10 African women for suggestions on what the US government, led by her father, President Donald Trump, can do to help others like them.

President Donald Trump said he had a "fantastic meeting" with Pope Francis at the Vatican, before flying to Belgium on the next leg of his first overseas trip as commander-in-chief. During Trump's election campaign, the two criticized each other.

President Donald Trump left the Vatican praising Pope Francis and calling the meeting "an honor of a lifetime".

When Trump departed, he told the pope: "Thank you, I won't forget what you said".

Francis had a light moment with the first lady, asking via translator, "What do you give him to eat, potica?" referring to a favorite papal dessert from her native Slovenia.

Mrs Trump, who grew up in Slovenia, reportedly speaks as many as six languages acquired during her global modelling career. Trump's gifts included a collection of first editions by Martin Luther King and a bronze sculpture.

The books and the granite were a nod to Pope Francis' 2015 address to Congress, in which he praised King's civil rights legacy, the White House said.

In addition to his own gift of peace, the medallion, the pope also gave the president the three documents he has written that he usually gives to visiting chiefs of state - Amoris Laetitia, Evangelii Gaudium and Laudato Si'.

The road of the marchers was set to stay away from the US Embassy and Royal Palace where Mr Trump was holding meetings upon his arrival from Rome. The first daughter wore a long, black dress and a veil, too.

In the past, Trump has said that climate change was a Chinese hoax; more recently he has rolled back Barack Obama's climate change policies and hired a climate change skeptic to head the EPA.

Saudi Arabia, where Melania Trump went veil-less, has a strict dress code for women - Muslim women are to wear a full-length abaya robe and headscarf.

That acceptance was seen as an effort by the pope to relax some rules of the Vatican. They discussed goals for the G-7 summit being held in Sicily on Friday and Saturday, the White House said. As many would expect, Trump tweeted about the visit which the Vatican called "cordial". Dan Scavino, his social media guru, State Department aide Brian Hook, security head Keith Schiller, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, national security adviser H.R. McMaster and son-in-law/advisor Jared Kushner were also present for the visit.

The Vatican said later that they shared a commitment to "life, and freedom of worship and conscience" and expressed hope that they can collaborate "in service to the people in the fields of healthcare, education and assistance to migrants". The thousands of pilgrims on hand forced Trump's motorcade to enter Vatican City from a side entrance rather than the grand entrance through St. Peter's Square.

Mr Trump also met Italy's president and prime minister while in Rome.

  • Leroy Wright