Popes and presidents have always circled each other warily. But given the fraught relationship between President Donald Trump and Pope Francis, their lack of agreement on key issues and both leaders’ penchant for flaunting the diplomatic expectations of their office, their meeting Wednesday has the makings of the strangest, most misaligned president-pontiff pairings in recent history.
Pope Francis is a Jesuit from Argentina who grew up as the child of immigrants and believes entertainment is a distraction from family and interpersonal connections. Trump is a thrice-married real estate and entertainment mogul known for his brusqueness and occasional vulgarity. While Francis is lauded for gestures like washing the feet of prison inmates, Trump has demeaned war heroes for being captured in battle and regularly describes opponents as “losers.” Francis is the spiritual head of the largest Christian sect in the world; Trump is a lapsed Presbyterian who bungles Bible verses and has rarely been seen in a church.
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