Contrary to earlier reports, President Donald Trump will meet with Pope Francis when he travels to Italy next month for meetings with the G7 leaders, U.S. and Vatican officials said Wednesday.
When asked about a possible meeting, White House press spokesman Sean Spicer told reporters that officials would be contacting the Vatican to arrange a meeting between Trump and the Pope during the latter’s visit to Italy at the end of May
“Obviously, we’d be honored to have an audience with His Holiness,” he said.
For his part, Archbishop Angelo Becciu, the Vatican equivalent of a deputy prime minister, confirmed to the Italian news agency ANSA that “Pope Francis is always ready to receive heads of state who request an audience.”
In last November’s election, Catholics voted for Donald Trump by a substantial margin over Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, with 52 percent voting for Mr. Trump and only 45 percent voting for Mrs. Clinton, the Pew Research Center reported. The victory for Trump among Catholics represented a significant 5 percent shift away from the Democratic Party in the four years since 2012.
Among Christians who regularly attend services the divide was still greater, with weekly churchgoers voting for Trump at a margin of 56 percent over 40 percent for Clinton. Those Christians who attend church just a “few times a year” split fairly evenly between the two candidates, while Mrs. Clinton gained a sizable victory (31 points) over Trump among those who do not practice their faith.