On Friday, Bernie Sanders announced that he’s accepted an invitation to visit the Vatican. He’ll do so on April 15 (the morning after the CNN Democratic debate), and he made this information public during MSNBC’s Morning Joe. Host Mika Brzezinski complimented Sanders on his “very impressive” score, and the Vermont Senator admitted feeling “very moved” to receive the invite. He’s not sure whether he’ll meet Pope Francis, but he’s a big fan. Sanders will also deliver a speech about “the idolatry of money” in an effort to tie morality and economics. This is probably a trip that Donald Trump won’t be making after he butted heads with the pope in February.
The timing of this visit is relevant. Sanders, who is Jewish, will make this trek a few days before the New York primary. This election will not only be yuuuge in terms of delegates, but Sanders and Clinton both have strong ties to the state (he was born in Brooklyn, and she was a New York senator). Some folks think the Bern is aiming to capture the state’s substantial Catholic vote, and why not? He’s a competitor. However, there have been buzzings that Sanders invited himself, and a senior papal official crushed that rumor:
U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders was invited to speak at an April 15 Vatican event by the Vatican, a senior papal official said, denying a report that Sanders had invited himself. “I deny that. It was not that way,” Monsignor Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo told Reuters in a telephone interview while he was traveling in New York. Sorondo, a close aide to Pope Francis, is chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, which is hosting the event.
News of the invitation also arrives on the same day that New York Times columnist Paul Krugman published an op-ed column that criticizes Sanders for “being over the edge.”