Published: Thu, May 25, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Trump held first face-to-face talks with Pope Francis


The meeting lasted 50 minutes.

Pope's talks with Trump lasted 30 minutes. That theme was reflected in their words and their gifts.

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.

"If you look at her style, it's still very much her and her style of dress but being sensitive to the place and host nation for sure", Stephanie Grisham said.

As his offering, Trump saw fit to present the pontiff with a first-edition set of writings by Martin Luther King Jr. "And that's a hard balancing act to take, and so I think we had a good exchange there, and we look forward to having further talks with them on climate policy".

Following the meeting, Trump told the press "He is really something!" of the Pope.

In Riyadh, Mrs. Trump didn't visit any Muslim holy sites or mosques where head coverings and other steps such as removing one's shoes would have been required.

The president was heard thanking the pope and saying it was "a great honor" to be there.

They then posed for photographs and took a seat at the pope's desk to continue their conversation. It ended a half hour later when Francis rang the bell in his private study. Check out what former First Lady Michelle Obama had on when she toured Tuscany's Siena Cathedral this week while on vacation.

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When a Vatican official handed her a rosary, the first lady immediately gave it to the pope to bless. He was referring to a traditional Slovenian dish, though some thought he said "pizza".

The meeting between Trump and Pope Francis comes after the U.S. leader visited Western Wall in Jerusalem two days ago.

Accompanied by his wife Melania and daughter Ivanka, Trump met Francis in the private library of the Apostolic Palace, the lavish papal residence that the current pope eschews in favour of more modest lodgings.

The Vatican described the discussions as "cordial" and emphasised the two men's joint opposition to abortion and shared concern for persecuted Christians in the Middle East.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, briefing reporters on Air Force One after the meeting, said terrorism and climate change came up. But there are relatively few other areas where their views align. He frames climate change as an urgent moral crisis and blames global warming on an unfair, fossil fuel-based industrial model that harms the poor the most.

After the meeting, Francis held his weekly audience with the general public in St Peter's Square.

"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, Melania Trump's communications director, told CNN.

Francis had criticized then-candidate Trump in February 2016, after Trump unveiled a key goal of his presidential campaign: walling off the US border with Mexico.

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