Politics - News Analysis
Pope Francis Refused to Meet with Mike Pompeo Because He Doesn’t Want to Help Trump
In a recent trip to Europe, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made an effort to meet with Pope Francis during a stop at the Vatican but the Catholic leader refused the photo opportunity and handshake because he didn’t want to become a pawn in President Donald Trump’s reelection efforts, Vox reports.
The Pope has often made his disdain for Trump known, at various points criticizing him for his “pro-life” hypocrisy after Trump rescinded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program (DACA), an Obama-era program that provided temporary protection to undocumented immigrants who were children when they arrived in the U.S. Fortunately, in a 5-4 ruling, the Supreme Court rejected the Trump Administration’s actions as illegal, MarketWatch reports.
Trump’s cruelty toward immigrant children has led the Pope to make some pretty striking comments during a December 2019 visit to Thailand while visiting his fellow Jesuits:
“In other parts there are walls that even separate children from parents,” Francis said. “Herod comes to mind. Yet for drugs, there’s no wall to keep them out.”
Pope Francis has also disagreed with the president’s stance on climate change and refusal to make changes to combat it.
“If we don’t go back, we will go down,” he said as the papal airplane crossed Hurricane Irma’s path between Cartagena while heading to Rome. “Man is a stupid and hard-headed being.”
So quite obviously, this progressive pope prefers to avoid Trump and his cohorts whenever possible, it seems. Perhaps like increasing numbers of people, Pope Francis doesn’t want another four years of Trump.
“Yes, that is precisely why the Pope will not meet American Secretary of State Mike Pompeo,” said Archbishop Richard Gallagher, the Vatican’s secretary for relations with states, in an interview with Italian news agency Ansa Wednesday.
Even so, this is a surprise of sorts, because the two men met in person last October to toss around ideas that promote religious freedom, even as impeachment hearings in Washington, D.C. were ongoing, Vox writer staff Alex Ward notes, adding that with the presidential election looming, Pope Francis may have been concerned this may have changed the views of some Americans on the Trump administration.
“Pope Francis, it seems, didn’t want to run that risk,” Ward writes.
Pompeo, who serves as America’s top diplomat, has lately been acting as a campaign surrogate for Trump and doing things like filming a short video supporting Trump while in Jerusalem on official travel. That video aired during the Republican National Convention, and this may be off-putting for some foreign leaders.
Ward notes Pompeo’s decision to do this flies in the face of long-held traditions that meant sitting Cabinet members avoided taking part in openly political and partisan activities. It’s something Pompeo’s Republican and Democratic predecessors avoided.
From Jerusalem, the City of David — see you soon! pic.twitter.com/KNPTIXfK0K
— Mike Pompeo (@mikepompeo) August 26, 2020
It’s not difficult to see why Pope Francis might want to avoid anything that can be seen as supporting Trump’s re-election. The Pope appears to value kindness, even at one point saying atheists who do good can be saved; we certainly can’t say Trump or his administration colleagues are particularly charitable in their kindness.
I wonder if Pompeo realizes that when Pope Francis avoids you it means you’re really in the crapper?