Despite Tensions in Their Past, Trump and Pope Francis Finally Meet

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Ivanka, Melania and President Trump with Pope Francis. (EVAN VUCCI/AP)
Despite their differences in the past, President Donald Trump and Pope Francis met at the Vatican on Wednesday, setting aside their difference to display a tone of peace.

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Trump was accompanied by his wife Melania, his daughter Ivanka, son-in-law Jared Kushner and several aides and met Pope Francis in Sala del Tronetto, the room of the little throne, on the second floor of Apostolic Palace where the Pope meets with guests.

Pope Francis shakes hands with Ivanka Trump on the occasion of a private audience, at the Vatican, Wednesday, May 24, 2017. (L’Osservatore Romano/Pool Photo via AP)

The pope presented President Trump with  a medal featuring an olive branch.

“It is my desire that you become an olive tree to construct peace,” Francis said in Spanish.

“We can use peace,” Trump responded.

Melania and Ivanka Trump covered their heads as a sign of papal respect, a gesture they did not do in Saudi Arabia or Israel.

Trump also came bearing gifts. He presented the pope with a first-edition set of Martin Luther King Jr.’s works, an engraved stone from Martin Luther King Jr.’s  King memorial in Washington and a bronze sculpture.

Jared Kushner, senior advisor of President Donald Trump, shakes hands with Pope Francis, at the Vatican, Wednesday, May 24, 2017. (L’Osservatore Romano/Pool Photo via AP)

“I think you’ll enjoy them. I hope you do,” Trump said.

When the meeting as over Trump told the pope: “Thank you, I won’t forget what you said.”
Later, as he met with the  Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, Trump said of the pope: “He is something.”

 

While they have a diplomatic meeting today, in the past their was a lot of friction. During the US presidential campaign, the pope said of Trump. “A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian,” The pope who is a strong advocate of helping refugees, particularly those from Syria, said it both a “moral imperative” and “Christian duty” to help them.

At the time Trump  called the pope “disgraceful” for doubting his faith.

This meeting concluded Trump’s visits to the major centers of the world’s major religions. Christianity, Islam and Judaism.

 

Pope Francis with President Trump in the Vatican. (ALESSANDRA TARANTINO/AP)
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