A lone American flag hung above the entryway to Pope Francis’ apostolic palace in Vatican City on Wednesday as U.S. President Donald Trump arrived for the third leg of his tour of the world’s great religions.
Trump met Pope Francis on the fifth day of his first foreign presidential trip, after visiting the cradles of Islam and Judaism.
While their discussion will remain private, the president had a brief message for Francis as he left:
“I WON’T FORGET WHAT YOU SAID.”
‘It’s such an honor,’ he said as he shook the Pontiff’s hand and posed for photos in the Sala del Tronetto, the second-floor ‘little throne room.’
‘Thank you very much. This is such a great honor,’ Trump was later heard saying as he and Francis sat across a desk from each other to begin their talks in his private study.
The Pope presented Trump with a medal with a picture of an olive tree and told him: ‘It is my desire that you become an olive tree to construct peace.’ Trump replied: ‘We could use peace,’
He tweeted on his way to the airport: ‘Honor of a lifetime to meet His Holiness Pope Francis. I leave the Vatican more determined than ever to pursue PEACE in our world.’
After they emerged from their talks, Francis was grinning from ear to ear as he met other members of the first family.
‘What do you give him to eat?’ he asked Melania Trump in Italian, referring to the president’s hulking size. ‘Potica?’
‘Potica!’ a delighted Melania responded, laughing. Potica is a Slovenian nut-roll dessert.
The Pope blessed a rosary in her hand before greeting Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner, along with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and other U.S. officials.
Melania followed the Papal meeting with a visit to a Vatican-owned children’s hospital. She told Francis: ‘I’m glad to visit the hospital – for the “bambinos”.’
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