President Donald Trump and Pope Francis met at the Vatican on Wednesday. This visit is a stop on his jam packed, nine-day international trip, including stops in the Middle East.
Donald Trump met with Pope Francis in Sala del Tronetto, translating to, ‘the room of the little throne,’ within the Apostolic Palace. When their meeting concluded, as a tradition, the two exchanged gifts.
The pope gifted Trump with a medal featuring an interesting feature, an olive branch, which is a symbol of peace. Upon receiving the gift, the President replied, “We can use peace.”
Trump, not really known for being civil rights savvy, presented the pope with a first-edition, custom-bound set of Martin Luther King Jr.‘s works in addition to an engraved stone from the King memorial in Washington. He also gifted the pontiff with a flowering lotus in the form of a bronze sculpture and titled, “Rising Above.” Talk about a gift! Trump told the pope, “I think you’ll enjoy them, I hope you do.”
The meeting between Trump and the pope lasted half an hour, compared to the pontiff’s meeting with Obama in 2014, which lasted for fifty minutes. Pope Francis and Donald Trump have a rocky past, with the Pope being highly critical of the Trump campaign’s desire to build a wall and turn away Muslim immigrants and refugees.
In 2016 Pope Francis stated, “A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian.” Trump responded to the Pope’s side eye at his faith by calling him “disgraceful.” After their meeting, the Pope met Trump’s family, including wife, Melania Trump, daughter, Ivanka Trump, son-in-law, Jared Kushner as well as his aides, Dan Scavino and Hope Hicks.
When Trump left, he told the pope: “Thank you, I won’t forget what you said.”