President Trump and Pope Francis had their first meeting today in Rome. The meeting was anticipated to be tense, as the two leaders have publicly stated very different views on key issues--particularly immigration, the environment, and how to address terrorism.
The Pope has criticized Trump's desire to build a wall, his downplaying of global warming and his strong attitude towards terrorism.
"A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges is not Christian," Pope Francis famously said during the campaign.
Trump fired back, "No leader, especially a religious leader, should have the right to question another man's religion or faith."
"They're using the pope as a pawn and they should be ashamed of themselves -- that's the Mexican government -- they should be ashamed of themselves for doing so, especially when so many lives are involved and when illegal immigration is so rampant and so dangerous and so bad for the United States."
But Wednesday's meeting between the two leaders went peacefully, with the First Lady and Ivanka and Jared Kushner also in attendance.
The Vatican released an official statement of the meeting, saying the pope and the president held "cordial discussions" that included "an exchange of views on various themes relating to international affairs and the promotion of peace in the world through political negotiation and interreligious dialogue, with particular reference to the situation in the Middle East and the protection of Christian communities."
"It is hoped that there may be serene collaboration between the state and the Catholic Church in the United States, engaged in service to the people in the fields of health care, education and assistance to immigrants," the statement reads.
ABC News reports the two leaders exchanged gifts, which no doubt held serious statements. President Trump gave the pope a case of books by Martin Luther King Jr., and the pope gave Trump a medal by a Roman artist inscribed with an olive branch.
Pope Francis said that the branch is a symbol of peace, to which Trump responded, "We can use peace."
The pope also gave Trump three books: one on family, one on the Gospels and one on "care of our common home, the environment."
"Well, I'll be reading them," Trump said.
It appears the pope was trying to communicate to Trump how much he wants him to change his mind about how important the environment is, as well as his strong stance on how America will respond to acts of terror.
What do you think of the pope's gifts to Trump? Share your thoughts in the Comments! Thank you!