Demure Melania Trump visits Vatican with black veil, in head-to-toe black

The encounter was ultimately considered a success following a rocky start to the pair's relationship a year ago, when Francis questioned Trump's Christian credentials.

Pope Francis tweeted before his meeting with President Donald Trump: "Dialogue allows us to plan for a future in common.

One image in particular, of a grinning Trump next to a stone-faced Pope Francis, has gone viral".

The tensions were perhaps to be expected: the two disagree on the issues that lie closest to Francis's heart, from climate change to the need to integrate and accept migrants of all faiths.

The audience took place in the private library of the Apostolic Palace, the lavish papal residence that Pope Francis does not use, having opted instead for modest lodgings in a guesthouse for visiting clerics. The two men will then be left alone with a translator to hold a private discussion before emerging again to exchange gifts and farewells.

"Obviously there was no evidence of the great chemistry he had with Obama". The Pope said.... niente.

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

White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus (L) walks to Marine One with Director of Oval Office Operations Keith Schiller (R) in Washington, U.S., to embark on a trip with U.S. President Donald Trump to the Middle East and Europe May 19, 2017.

In reality, Trump has only visited his wife's home country once, and his diet is decidedly simpler and much more American, favoring fast food and Diet Coke.

His Holiness opened proceedings with a little bit of second-hand body-shaming, when he asked Melania, "What do you feed him?" Reporters in the room thought initially that the First Lady had replied "Pizza!" The Pope gave the president a copy of Laudato Si, an encyclical he wrote on the environment - a pointed gift, given that Mr Trump has threatened to withdraw the United States from the 2015 Paris accord on combating climate change. That post has not yet been filled by Trump's administration. Ivanka Trump wore a black head covering to the wall, while Melania Trump wore no head covering.

"Per Vatican protocol, women who have an audience with the Pope are required to wear long sleeves, formal black clothing, and a veil to cover the head", Stephanie Grisham, spokesperson for the First Lady, said in a statement to CNN.

"Trump's bark is worse than his bite", a senior Vatican official told The New York Times.

But while he has loyally defended the president during in first four months in office, the press secretary appears to have fallen out of favor with Trump following several embarrassing incidents. The two stuck mainly to protocol, avoiding a public reprise of the barbs they aimed at each other during Trump's presidential campaign or the pope's thinly veiled critiques of Trump as a symbol of a dangerously reinvigorated nationalism.

Trump could be heard saying it was "an honour" to be there during the meeting. "I won't forget what you said".

Pope Francis then gave Mr Trump a small sculptured olive tree and told him through the interpreter that it symbolised peace.

  • Leroy Wright