Donald Trump's Meeting With Pope Francis Was Full Of Awkward Moments

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

President Donald Trump’s meeting with Pope Francis on Wednesday was mostly cordial, but there were still plenty of uncomfortable moments.

The meeting was already fraught with prior tensions, given that Trump lashed out after the pope criticized him during his campaign.

The Wall Street Journal’s Carol Lee, the White House pool reporter documenting the scene, noted that the initial mood at Wednesday’s meeting seemed “stiff,” and that the pope appeared “rather stone-faced.”

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump meeting Pope Francis this week in Vatican City, Vatican. (Photo: Vatican Pool - Corbis via Getty Images)
President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump meeting Pope Francis this week in Vatican City, Vatican. (Photo: Vatican Pool - Corbis via Getty Images)

The pope was not particularly warm when shaking hands with Trump. Per the pool report:

“Thank you so much,” President Trump said to Pope Francis when they
shook hands.

After shaking hands, the pope and POTUS walked into the pope’s
private study, which is just off the room where they shook hands.

When pool entered the study, the pope and the president were seated
across from each other at the pope’s wooden desk.

POTUS told the pope it’s “a very great honor.”

The pope did not say anything. He did not smile. He looked at pool
several times.

Another bizarre moment occurred while the pope greeted Trump’s family. He asked first lady Melania Trump about her husband’s dietary habits.

“What do you give him to eat, potizza?” he said, referring to a dessert from her native Slovenia. (It was initially reported that he said “pizza.”)

But the mood in the room reportedly “lightened considerably” when Trump and the pope exchanged gifts.

Pope Francis gave Trump several documents that he typically gives to visiting dignitaries, including a copy of his lauded 2015 address on climate change. Trump has said he believes climate change is “a hoax” created by the Chinese.

The president was reportedly “effusive” in his thanks and told the pope, “I’ll be reading them.”

Climate change is just one of several major issues on which Trump and the pope disagree. Last year, the pontiff was also highly critical of Trump’s signature campaign pledge to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

“A person who only thinks about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian,” he said.

Trump responded by calling the pope “disgraceful” and writing a threatening Facebook post.

“If and when the Vatican is attacked by ISIS, which as everyone knows is ISIS’s ultimate trophy, I can promise you that the Pope would have only wished and prayed that Donald Trump would have been President because this would not have happened,” Trump wrote.

The pope, who comes from an immigrant family, has also stressed the importance of helping immigrants and has encouraged more action on the international refugee crisis ― which sharply contrasts Trump’s anti-immigrant campaign rhetoric and his executive orders that target undocumented immigrants and halt refugee resettlement in the U.S.

Trump and the pope discussed “the promotion of peace in the world,” according to the Vatican’s press office. The president described Wednesday’s meeting as “great” and “fantastic.”

“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 healthcare, education and assistance to immigrants,” the Vatican said in a statement.

Also on HuffPost

President Donald Trump arrives to participate in a wreath-laying at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem.
President Donald Trump arrives to participate in a wreath-laying at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem.
Trump and his wife Melania Trump are seen as they visit the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City.
Trump and his wife Melania Trump are seen as they visit the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City.
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Trump and national security adviser H.R. McMaster eat Belgian chocolate during their meeting with Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel in Brussels, Belgium.
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Trump and national security adviser H.R. McMaster eat Belgian chocolate during their meeting with Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel in Brussels, Belgium.
Trump salutes as he arrives at the Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport in Rome, Italy.
Trump salutes as he arrives at the Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport in Rome, Italy.
First lady Melania Trump Visits the Pediatric Hospital Bambin Gesï.
First lady Melania Trump Visits the Pediatric Hospital Bambin Gesï.
The Trump family meets Pope Francis.
The Trump family meets Pope Francis.
Trump is welcomed by Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud Salman (far right) as he arrives at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on May 20, 2017.
Trump is welcomed by Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud Salman (far right) as he arrives at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on May 20, 2017.
Trump waves from a car during the reception ceremony in Riyadh on May 20, 2017.
Trump waves from a car during the reception ceremony in Riyadh on May 20, 2017.
Trump and King Salman walk together during the welcome ceremony prior to their meeting at Al-Yamamah Palace in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on May 20, 2017.
Trump and King Salman walk together during the welcome ceremony prior to their meeting at Al-Yamamah Palace in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on May 20, 2017.
Trump receives the Order of Abdul-Aziz Al Saud medal from King Salman at the Saudi Royal Court in Riyadh on May 20, 2017.
Trump receives the Order of Abdul-Aziz Al Saud medal from King Salman at the Saudi Royal Court in Riyadh on May 20, 2017.
Trump, Tillerson (third from right) and other members of the U.S. delegation take part in a bilateral meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Nayef bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud at a hotel in Riyadh on May 20, 2017.
Trump, Tillerson (third from right) and other members of the U.S. delegation take part in a bilateral meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Nayef bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud at a hotel in Riyadh on May 20, 2017.
Ivanka Trump is seen at the ceremony where her father received the Order of Abdul-Aziz Al Saud medal at the Saudi Royal Court on May 20, 2017.
Ivanka Trump is seen at the ceremony where her father received the Order of Abdul-Aziz Al Saud medal at the Saudi Royal Court on May 20, 2017.
King Salman (right) welcomes the Trumps ahead of a dinner at Murabba Palace in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on May 20, 2017.
King Salman (right) welcomes the Trumps ahead of a dinner at Murabba Palace in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on May 20, 2017.
Trump joins dancers with swords at a welcome ceremony ahead of a banquet at the Murabba Palace on May 20, 2017.
Trump joins dancers with swords at a welcome ceremony ahead of a banquet at the Murabba Palace on May 20, 2017.
Trump looks on as Secretary of State Tillerson (left) and Crown Prince Muhammad bin Nayef (right) exchange a memorandum of understanding, in which the Gulf states commit not to finance militant organizations, at the Gulf Cooperation Council leaders summit in Riyadh on May 21, 2017.
Trump looks on as Secretary of State Tillerson (left) and Crown Prince Muhammad bin Nayef (right) exchange a memorandum of understanding, in which the Gulf states commit not to finance militant organizations, at the Gulf Cooperation Council leaders summit in Riyadh on May 21, 2017.
Melania Trump walks alongside Saudi Commerce and Investment Minister Majed al-Qasabi (center), as she visits the GE All-Women Business Process Services and IT Centre on May 21, 2017, in Riyadh.
Melania Trump walks alongside Saudi Commerce and Investment Minister Majed al-Qasabi (center), as she visits the GE All-Women Business Process Services and IT Centre on May 21, 2017, in Riyadh.
Trump (fifth from left); King Salman (fifth from right); Gen. Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan (third from left), the crown prince of Abu Dhabi; King of Bahrain Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa (fourth from right); Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Jaber al-Ahmad al-Sabah (fourth from left); Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani (second from right); and Sayyid Fahd bin Mahmoud al Said (third from right), deputy prime minister of the Sultanate of Oman, are seen during the U.S.-Gulf Summit at King Abdul Aziz International Conference Center in Riyadh on May 21, 2017.
Trump (fifth from left); King Salman (fifth from right); Gen. Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan (third from left), the crown prince of Abu Dhabi; King of Bahrain Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa (fourth from right); Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Jaber al-Ahmad al-Sabah (fourth from left); Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani (second from right); and Sayyid Fahd bin Mahmoud al Said (third from right), deputy prime minister of the Sultanate of Oman, are seen during the U.S.-Gulf Summit at King Abdul Aziz International Conference Center in Riyadh on May 21, 2017.
Trump and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi take part in a bilateral meeting at a hotel in Riyadh on May 21, 2017.
Trump and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi take part in a bilateral meeting at a hotel in Riyadh on May 21, 2017.
Melania Trump, Ivanka Trump and her husband, White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, sit behind the president shortly before he delivered his remarks to the Arab Islamic American Summit in Riyadh on May 21, 2017.
Melania Trump, Ivanka Trump and her husband, White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, sit behind the president shortly before he delivered his remarks to the Arab Islamic American Summit in Riyadh on May 21, 2017.
The first lady chats with students during a visit to the American International School in Riyadh on May 21, 2017.
The first lady chats with students during a visit to the American International School in Riyadh on May 21, 2017.
Donald Trump, Melania Trump, Saudi King Salman (second from left) and Egyptian President el-Sissi (far left) put their hands on an illuminated globe during the inauguration ceremony of the Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology in Riyadh on May 21, 2017.
Donald Trump, Melania Trump, Saudi King Salman (second from left) and Egyptian President el-Sissi (far left) put their hands on an illuminated globe during the inauguration ceremony of the Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology in Riyadh on May 21, 2017.
Trump and Israeli President Reuven Rivlin speak during a welcome ceremony at Ben Gurion International Airport on May 22, 2017, near Tel Aviv.
Trump and Israeli President Reuven Rivlin speak during a welcome ceremony at Ben Gurion International Airport on May 22, 2017, near Tel Aviv.
Melania Trump arrives at the President's Residence in Jerusalem on May 22, 2017.
Melania Trump arrives at the President's Residence in Jerusalem on May 22, 2017.
Melania and Donald Trump stand next to members of the Christian clergy during their visit to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem's Old City on May 22, 2017.
Melania and Donald Trump stand next to members of the Christian clergy during their visit to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem's Old City on May 22, 2017.
Ivanka Trump attends a press conference at the President's Residence in Jerusalem on May 22, 2017.
Ivanka Trump attends a press conference at the President's Residence in Jerusalem on May 22, 2017.
Donald Trump walks with the first lady in Jerusalem's Old City on May 22, 2017.
Donald Trump walks with the first lady in Jerusalem's Old City on May 22, 2017.
Donald Trump visits the Western Wall, the holiest site where Jews can pray, in Jerusalem's Old City on May 22, 2017.
Donald Trump visits the Western Wall, the holiest site where Jews can pray, in Jerusalem's Old City on May 22, 2017.
(From left to right) U.S. President Donald Trump, French President Emmanuel Macron, British Prime Minister Theresa May, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni watch an Italian flying squadron as part of activities at the G7 Summit in Taormina, Sicily, on May 26, 2017.
(From left to right) U.S. President Donald Trump, French President Emmanuel Macron, British Prime Minister Theresa May, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni watch an Italian flying squadron as part of activities at the G7 Summit in Taormina, Sicily, on May 26, 2017.
U.S. President Donald Trump greets French President Emmanuel Macron before a lunch ahead of a NATO summit in Brussels, Belgium, on May 25, 2017.
U.S. President Donald Trump greets French President Emmanuel Macron before a lunch ahead of a NATO summit in Brussels, Belgium, on May 25, 2017.
(Left to right) European Council President Donald Tusk, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, U.S. President Donald Trump, Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, French President Emmanuel Macron, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, British Prime Minister Theresa May and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker pose for a family photo during the G7 Summit in Taormina, Sicily, on May 26, 2017.
(Left to right) European Council President Donald Tusk, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, U.S. President Donald Trump, Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, French President Emmanuel Macron, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, British Prime Minister Theresa May and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker pose for a family photo during the G7 Summit in Taormina, Sicily, on May 26, 2017.
(From left to right) Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, U.S. President Donald Trump, Hungarian Prime Minister Voktor Orban and British Prime Minister Theresa May pose at the start of NATO summit at the organization's new headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, on May 25, 2017.
(From left to right) Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, U.S. President Donald Trump, Hungarian Prime Minister Voktor Orban and British Prime Minister Theresa May pose at the start of NATO summit at the organization's new headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, on May 25, 2017.
U.S. President Donald Trump gathers with (from left to right) European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, European Council President Donald Tusk, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, French President Emmanuel Macron, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and British Prime Minister Theresa May as they attend the G7 summit in Taormina, Sicily, on May 26, 2017.
U.S. President Donald Trump gathers with (from left to right) European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, European Council President Donald Tusk, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, French President Emmanuel Macron, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and British Prime Minister Theresa May as they attend the G7 summit in Taormina, Sicily, on May 26, 2017.

Love HuffPost? Become a founding member of HuffPost Plus today.

This article originally appeared on HuffPost.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting