“A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not of building bridges, is not Christian. This is not the gospel,” Francis told reporters traveling with him back to the Vatican at the conclusion of a trip to Cuba and Mexico.
It’s not the first time Trump and the Pope have criticized the other through the media. Francis was responding to a reporter who asked about Trump’s recent comments that Francis is “very political” and that Mexico was using him to convince the U.S. to leave its southern border unsecured.
“Thank God he said I was a politician because Aristotle defined the human person as ‘animal politicus.’ So at least I am a human person,” Francis said. “As to whether I am a pawn, well, maybe, I don’t know. I’ll leave that up to your judgment and that of the people.”
While Trump has promised to build a wall on the Mexican border (and get Mexico to pay for it) and called Mexican immigrants rapists and criminals, Francis has openly shown support for migrants who have died trying to reach the U.S. During his trip, he walked along the U.S.-Mexico border fenceand said immigration is spurred by a “humanitarian crisis” at a mass in Juarez, just 50 years from the U.S. border.
The reporter also asked whether American Catholics should vote for someone like Trump.
“I am not going to get involved in that,” he said. “I say only that this man is not Christian if he has said things like that. We must see if he said things in that way and I will give him the benefit of the doubt.”
Just before the pope’s comments were made public, Trump had some nice things to say about him – even regarding his position on immigration.
“I heard the pope and I respect the pope and I love the pope in many ways. I love what he stands for and I like his attitude. He’s very independent and he’s very different,” he said in an interview on SiriusXM and Breitbart News Daily. “I really respect the fact that he sees both sides. You know a lot of people are inflexible – they won’t change.”
In the past, Trump has criticized the Pope for being “not Pope-like” by waiting to pay his own bill at the front desk of a hotel, but has otherwise been complimentary of the Holy See. In fact, he said Francis would be his first pick for his reality show, “Celebrity Apprentice,” if the person was guaranteed to say yes.