Pope Francis and Donald Trump exchange jibes: #MakeVaticanGreatAgain trending

By @chelean on
Pope Francis (C), Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto (R) and his wife, Mexico's first lady Angelica Rivera stand together during a farewell ceremony in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, February 17, 2016.
Pope Francis (C), Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto (R) and his wife, Mexico's first lady Angelica Rivera stand together during a farewell ceremony in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, February 17, 2016. Reuters/Jose Luis Gonzalez

Pope Francis thinks Donald Trump is “not Christian,” while the US presidential hopeful calls the head of the Roman Catholic Church “disgraceful.” The pope responded to a question about the Republican candidate’s anti-immigrant policies during a trip back from Mexico.

While saying he was not interfering with the US election, the pontiff made it clear he was not in favour of Trump’s policies on immigration, which included deporting millions of undocumented immigrants, mainly Mexicans, building a wall on the border of US and Mexico, and banning all Muslims from entering the US.

“A person who only thinks about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not a Christian,” the Argentina-born, said in Spanish. He added, though, that he would give Trump the benefit of the doubt if the real estate tycoon really said it.

As expected, Trump immediately had a retort. He claimed he was a “very nice person” and a “very good Christian.”

“For a religious leader to question a person’s faith is disgraceful,” he said during a campaign in South Carolina, US.

“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,” he boasted.

Trump’s attitude towards the pope was not always antagonistic. When Pope Francis was still beginning his papacy in 2013, Trump praised him for his humility.

“The new Pope is a humble man, very much like me, which probably explains why I like him so much!” Trump tweeted.

Reactions on social media are divided, with some Twitter users using sarcasm to join the debate, adding the hashtag “MakeTheVaticanGreatAgain, a reference to Trump’s slogan, “Make America great again.”

Ben Shapiro, conservative political commentator, pointed out that the Vatican itself is surrounded by walls, as did Trump’s social media director, Dan Scavino.