VATICAN CITY >> President Donald Trump and Pope Francis are exchanging gifts after a private meeting.
Trump and Francis met privately for about 30 minutes Wednesday morning at the Vatican.
Pope Francis gave the president copies of his three main teaching documents as parting gifts, as he typically does for visiting heads of state. The red leather-bound booklets to some degree define his papacy and priorities. Some of the main themes contained in them contrast sharply with President Donald Trump’s policies and campaign promises, particularly concerning approaches to the environment and income inequality.
Trump’s gift for Francis was wrapped in a big blue box. The president said he was delivering “books from Martin Luther King. I think you’ll enjoy them. I hope you do.”
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Pope Francis is meeting first lady Melania Trump, Trump’s oldest daughter Ivanka, and other members of the U.S. delegation.
Mrs. Trump smiled and chatted with Francis after the two warmly shook hands.
Francis also shook hands with other members of the president’s team, including former bodyguard Keith Schiller and social media director Dan Scavino.
The greetings happened after Trump and Pope Francis held a nearly 30-minute private meeting.
President Donald Trump is meeting Pope Francis for the first time.
Trump greeted Francis in Sala del Tronetto, the room of the little throne, on the second floor of Apostolic Palace Wednesday morning.
The men shook hands and Trump could be heard saying it was a “very great honor” to be there.
They then posed for photographs and took a seat at the pope’s desk to continue their conversation. They will now meet in private.
Prior to the handshake, Trump walked toward the Saint Ambrose room, led by Gentlemen of his Holiness, which is a sort of honor guard of nobility. He was joined by his wife Melania Trump, who had a veil on her head, in adherence to Vatican tradition.
President Donald Trump has arrived at the Vatican to meet with Pope Francis.
Trump arrived Wednesday morning at the Apostolic Palace for an audience with the pontiff. The meeting comes midway through his 9-day international trip.
The president and pope have not always seen eye to eye. The two men’s often opposite worldviews collided head-on early last year, when Francis was sharply critical of Trump’s campaign pledge to build an impenetrable wall on the Mexican border and his declaration that the United States should turn away Muslim immigrants and refugees.
Papal audiences usually last for about 20-30 minutes of private talks, followed by introductions of delegations, a photo and exchange of gifts.
President Donald Trump is poised to call on Pope Francis, the famously humble pontiff with whom he has publicly clashed.
Trump is midway through his grueling nine-day maiden international journey. He will meet the pontiff at the Vatican early Wednesday where the two will have a private audience laden with religious symbolism and ancient protocol.
The meeting will last scarcely more than an hour. But it could provide powerful imagery to Catholic voters back in the United States as well as the possibility for conflict between a president and a pope who have not often seen eye-to-eye.