Why Melania Trump covers her head one day but not the next

Neither Trump nor the Pope revealed what their conversation entailed at their Wednesday meeting, but the Vatican said in a statement that the two men discussed "the promotion of peace in the world through political negotiation and interreligious dialogue" and focused on the need to protect Christians in the Middle East.

Francis also gave Trump copies of the three major texts he has published as pope, including one on the environment which urges the industrialised world to curb carbon emissions or risk catastrophic consequences for the planet. The president said he was delivering "books from Martin Luther King".

Team Trump was due in Brussels on Wednesday afternoon for meetings with European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation officials before returning to Italy for the G7 summit in Sicily on Friday and Saturday.

Against that backdrop, Francis's advisors would no doubt have counselled the outspoken pontiff against any reference to Trump's size.

When a Vatican official handed her a rosary, the first lady immediately gave it to the pope to bless. I think you'll enjoy them.

Ivanka Trump also dressed modestly, and left her head uncovered. 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.

"He is something", Trump said.

As Melania shook hands with the pope during the visit, Pope Francis said in Spanish through his interpreter pointing toward Trump, "What do you give him to eat?!" In 2013, Trump tweeted that "the new pope is a humble man, very much like me" while Francis had promised to judge the man not the image. They then posed for photographs and then sat down at the papal desk, the pope unsmiling, as their private meeting began.

Afterward, as he met with Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, Trump said of the pope: "He is something". "We had a fantastic meeting".

The first lady laughed and said "Yes".

A Vatican statement said the meeting was "cordial" and that the Vatican hoped there could be "serene collaboration" between the US government and the American Catholic Church, including "assistance to immigrants".

It nearly looks like a farce: Trump cheerily oblivious, Pope Francis looking for all the world like he'd rather be literally anywhere else but in that room with that man, and Melania and Ivanka standing stiff and oddly morose, as if they're part of a historical reenactment of a Victorian-era funeral.

Every woman in the USA delegation wore a veil, including Ivanka Trump, the president's daughter who converted to Judaism before marriage.

"A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian".

Trump responded by calling Francis "disgraceful" for doubting his faith.

Afterwards, the Trumps were given a private tour of the Sistine Chapel and St Peter's Basilica.

Trump's audience with the 80-year-old pontiff, a keenly-anticipated highlight of his first overseas tour, lasted just under half an hour and concluded with both men beaming, for the cameras at least.

  • Leroy Wright