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But White House officials have been uncharacteristically mum about the president's goals for his meeting with the leader of the world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics.'He was invited by the Pope, and he's honored to go and meet the Pope.
It's somebody he has a lot of respect for,' a senior administration official told reporters aboard Air Force One on Tuesday.
Francis was far more measured, not describing the attack as terrorism, nor noting that ISIS immediately claimed credit for the carnage.'His Holiness Pope Francis was deeply saddened to learn of the injury and tragic loss of life caused by the barbaric attack in Manchester,' a telegram sent by the Vatican secretary of state read, 'and he expresses his heartfelt solidarity with all those affected by this senseless act of violence.'The Pontiff hasn't shied away from being more forceful in the past, and Trump has personally felt the sting of his verbal lash.'A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian,' Francis said then.
The pontiff has been a vocal advocate for aiding refugees, particularly those fleeing the violence in Syria, deeming it both a 'moral imperative' and 'Christian duty' to help.
We'll talk and afterwards I'll say what I think.''Always there are doors that are not closed,' he cautioned.
'I'll look for those doors that are at least open a little bit, then enter and talk about common things and go on.
Asked on May 13 whether he plans to toughen – or soften – his positions on global warming or immigration when he sits down with Trump, he insisted that he wasn't about to get caught up in political calculation.''We'll talk, each of us will say what he thinks.The only hint at an agenda came when the official hopefully lumped Catholicism into an ecumenical anti-terror klatch – signaling that Trump may angle for Pope Francis to endorse his hard-line condemnation of suicide bombers.'When you put it all together, you're really showing that this problem of radical extremism is one of the great problems of our time,' the official said.'By putting everybody together you can really build a coalition and show that it's not a Muslim problem, it's not a Jewish problem, it's not a Catholic problem, it's not a Christian problem.It really is a world problem.'In Israel on Tuesday, Trump denounced British Libyan terrorist Salman Abedi, who killed 22 people at a rock concert in Manchester, UK, as an 'evil loser.''I will call them from now on 'losers' because that's what they are. But they're losers, just remember that,' he said, standing alongside Abbas at his West Bank presidential palace.In February 2016 aboard a flight home from Juarez, Mexico, the Pope pointedly criticized the then-White House hopeful's improbable-sounding pledge to wall off the U. from its southern neighbor.'A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian. One focus of his trip had been a high-profile Mass celebrated on the U.S.-Mexico border, a move that enraged Trump.'I think the Pope is a very political person,' he told a Fox Business Channel interviewer.His comparatively short time with Pope Francis, however, could still turn the unconventional Pontiff and the even more unpredictable president into a pair of Roman candles.