President Donald Trump and Pope Francis, two leaders with contrasting styles and differing worldviews, met at the Vatican City yesterday, setting aside their previous clashes to broadcast a tone of peace for an audience around the globe.
Gibraltarian Monsignor Mark Miles, the Pope’s English translator, was at his side as the president greeted Francis in Sala del Tronetto, the room of the little throne, on the second floor of Apostolic Palace.
The two men had a private 30-minute meeting laden with religious symbolism and ancient protocol.
Mr Trump is midway through his gruelling nine-day maiden international journey and arrived at the Vatican just after 8am local time. He was accompanied by the first lady Melania Trump and several aides
Upon completing their meeting, the pope gave the president a medal featuring an olive branch, a symbol of peace, among other gifts.
“We can use peace,” the president responded.
The visit began with a handshake between the two men.
Mr Trump could be heard thanking the pope and saying it was “a great honour” to be there.
They then posed for photographs and then sat down at the papal desk, the pope unsmiling, as their private meeting began.
It ended a half hour later when Francis rang the bell in his private study.
The pontiff was then introduced to members of Mr Trump’s delegation, including his wife Melania, his daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner, as well as aides Hope Hicks and Dan Scavino.
Smiling for the staff, Francis had a light moment with the First Lady, asking via translator, “What do you give him to eat, pizza?”
Melania giggled and said “Pizza? Yes.”
As is tradition, the pope and president exchanged gifts.
Mr Trump presented the pontiff some books written by Martin Luther King Jr, saying “I think you’ll enjoy them. I hope you do.”
The pope presented Mr Trump with the medal, a message of peace and three bound papal documents that to some degree define his papacy and priorities.
When Mr Trump departed, he told the pope: “Thank you, I won’t forget what you said.”
Pic: (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, Pool)