Trump wants to meet with the Pope after all.
President Donald J. Trump of the United States has signaled his intention to have a personal interaction with Pope Francis. The president is due to travel to Italy in May. Interestingly, the two have clashed in the not-so-distant past. This was confirmed by Sean Spicer, the Press Secretary of the White House during his April 19 press briefing.
Trump Announces He Wants to Meet Pope Francis Next Month.
The Vatican, in response, made an announcement of its own. Archbishop Angelo Becciu told media persons the pontiff is always willing to accommodate heads of state wanting to have an audience.
President Trump is a participant in the G7 summit to be held at Taormina, Sicily. The event will be held over two days, May 26 to May 27. Although it is a custom for American Presidents to ask for an audience with the pope if they are on a trip to Italy, previous reports have indicated that the 45th US President was not much interested in meeting with the pontiff. This was confirmed by Vatican and U.S. diplomats who said the diplomatic corps were surprised when the usual detour was missing in the president's schedule.
Sean Spicer later admitted that the meeting between President Trump and Pope Francis have not yet been confirmed. There is a chance that the meeting may not be held at all and it will look like a snub from the pontiff's part.
Even if they meet, the two may have a tense meeting as they clashed only a year ago after Pope Francis made a remark which many believe were targeted towards Trump. The president returned the salvo. The feud between the two started in February 2016, the time Pope Francis made a plan to undertake a trip so that he can pray with the migrants who amass every day to cross the United States-Mexico border. Trump, at that time, the presidential candidate, asserted the pontiff was being used by Mexico as a pawn. Pope Francis replied in his own inimitable style a few days later. In his response to a reporter's question aboard his papal jet, the pontiff said that an individual who thinks exclusively about constructing walls and not bridges cannot be considered a Christian. When the reporter told him about Trump's view of him as a political person, the pontiff replied that Aristotle described a human person as an “animal politicus,” and thus he is a human.