PRESS TV REPORTS –
above – Pope Francis greets people at Santa Maria Maggiore basilica upon his return in Rome today on February 18, 2016 after his trip to Mexico. (AFP photo)
“A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian. This is not in the gospel,” Pope Francis said on Thursday, after journalists asked his opinion on Trump’s anti-immigration statements.
Trump immediately fired back at the Pope, calling his comments “disgraceful.” He also said the Christian leader has been duped by the Mexican government.
“For a religious leader to question a person’s faith is disgraceful. I’m 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,” the billionaire businessman said.
“No leader, especially a religious leader, should have the right to question another man’s religion and faith,” he added.
Trump stated that the Mexican government has “made many disparaging remarks about me to the Pope.”
“If and when the Vatican is attacked by ISIS [Daesh], 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,” he added.
above Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump reads from a statement about Pope Francis during a campaign rally in Kiawah, South Carolina, February 17, 2016. (AFP Photo)
Trump says he would deport 11 million undocumented workers from the United States and would establish a “deportation force” for this purpose.
He has also promised to expel undocumented immigrants and build a wall on the US-Mexico border. In addition, he has proposed repealing the constitutional right to citizenship of anyone born on US soil.
Trump has also created a furor in the US and around the world by proposing a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims” entering the United States, following a mass shooting in California.
Before the Pope left for Mexico, where he has spent the past five days, Trump called Francis “a very political person.”
“I think that he doesn’t understand the problems our country has. I don’t think he understands the danger of the open border that we have with Mexico,” the Republican candidate said.
Trump also suggested that the Pope was a pawn of the Mexican government.
In response to Trump’s accusations, the Pope said, “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,” he noted.