So far, Thursday’s political news roundup has included Ben Carson‘s apparent distaste for big government’s involvement in bear attacks and Glenn Beck’s conspiracy theory about the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. It was only a matter of time before Republican front-runner Donald Trump did or said something to light a fire under the 24-hour cable news cycle. That time has finally arrived, though not all the blame can be placed on the Donald. Some of the credit goes to the leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics, Pope Francis.
During the pontiff’s return trip to Rome after a six-day visit to Mexico, a reporter asked him about Donald Trump’s stated plans for building a wall between the United States and its southern neighbor. In response, Francis said such a divisive act suggested that Trump was not a Christian.
“A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian.”
The Pope was then asked whether or not he would use his influence to advise American Catholics as to who they should and shouldn’t vote for come November. He said he “was not going to get involved in that,” but did repeat his specific criticism of Trump’s anti-immigration plans.
“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 in this I give the benefit of the doubt.”
News of the Pope’s comments quickly reached Trump at a rally in Kiawah Island, South Carolina, where he was campaigning ahead of the state’s Republican Primary on Saturday. The Republican front-runner responded in kind, claiming that the Vatican was the “ultimate trophy” of ISIS, and that Francis will regret his remarks when the terrorist organization attacks.
According to the New York Times, much of this seemed like a rehashing of the New York real estate mogul’s prior criticisms of the Pope’s visit to Mexico. However, the pontiff’s recent comments and Trump’s immediate response inspired a more formal, three-paragraph press release from the Trump campaign on Thursday.
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. ISIS would have been eradicated unlike what is happening now with our all talk, no action politicians.
The Mexican government and its leadership has made many disparaging remarks about me to the Pope, because they want to continue to rip off the United States, both on trade and at the border, and they understand I am totally wise to them. The Pope only heard one side of the story – he didn’t see the crime, the drug trafficking and the negative economic impact the current policies have on the United States. He doesn’t see how Mexican leadership is outsmarting President Obama and our leadership in every aspect of negotiation.
For a religious leader to question a person’s faith is disgraceful. I am proud to be a Christian and as President I will not allow Christianity to be consistently attacked and weakened, unlike what is happening now, with our current President. No leader, especially a religious leader, should have the right to question another man’s religion or faith. They are using the Pope as a pawn and they should be ashamed of themselves for doing so, especially when so many lives are involved and when illegal immigration is so rampant.
Of course, all of this happened so fast that the press were still with the Pope when Trump’s official response was published. So, they asked the pontiff what his updated take on all of this was, and he laughed.
“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… 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.”
No word yet on what Trump’s post-Pope laughing press release will look like. However, rest assured that something — a tweet, even — will probably hit the media cycle very soon.