May 24, 2017, 12:28 PM ET

President Trump talks terrorism with Pope Francis, climate change with the Vatican

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President Donald Trump discussed terrorism with Pope Francis at the Vatican on Wednesday, in a highly anticipated first meeting between the two leaders that went longer than scheduled.

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According to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the pope and Trump had "pretty extensive conversations around extreme terrorist threats and extremism and radicalization of young people."

"That's one of the reasons the meeting apparently went long," Tillerson told reporters aboard Air Force One flying to Brussels, the next leg of Trump's foreign trip. "They got into quite a good conversation about it."

Tillerson said, "We did have a good exchange on the climate change issue" with Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican's secretary of state, but added that he didn't know if Trump and Francis discussed the topic.

Parolin encouraged "continued participation" in the Paris Climate Agreement, according to Tillerson.

Tillerson said Trump still has not made up his mind whether he'll withdraw the U.S. from the 2015 deal.

"The president indicated we're still thinking about that, that he hasn't made a final decision. He, I think, told both Cardinal Parolin and also told Prime Minister [Paolo] Gentiloni that this is something that he would be taking up for a decision when we return from this trip," Tillerson said.

According to a statement from the Vatican, the pope and the president held "cordial discussions" that included "an exchange of views on various themes relating to international affairs and the promotion of peace in the world through political negotiation and interreligious dialogue, with particular reference to the situation in the Middle East and the protection of Christian communities."

"It is hoped that there may be serene collaboration between the state and the Catholic Church in the United States, engaged in service to the people in the fields of health care, education and assistance to immigrants," the statement reads.

PHOTO: President Donald Trump jokes with French President Emmanuel Macron about their prior hand shake which had drawn attention for its intensity, during an event with other NATO leaders in Brussels, May 25, 2017.
SLIDESHOW: President Trump's first foreign trip

Later in the day, during his meeting with the Italian prime minister, Trump said his meeting with Francis was "great."

"He is something," Trump said of the pontiff. "We had a fantastic meeting."

He added, "We're liking Italy very, very much, and it was an honor to be with the pope."

After their private one-on-one meeting, which lasted about 30 minutes, Trump and Francis exchanged gifts in front of reporters and the president's visiting delegation, which included his wife, Melania Trump; his daughter Ivanka Trump; his son-in-law, Jared Kushner; Tillerson and other White House advisers.

The president gave the pope a case of books by Martin Luther King Jr., and the pope gave Donald Trump a medal by a Roman artist, inscribed with an olive branch.

Francis explained that the branch is a symbol of peace, and Trump replied, "We can use peace."

The pope also presented Trump with three books that he said he sends to all Catholics: one on family, one on the Gospels and one on "care of our common home, the environment."

"Well, I'll be reading them," Trump said.

PHOTO: Pope Francis exchanges gifts with President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump during a private audience at the Vatican on May 24, 2017. President Trump met Pope Francis at the Vatican today in their first face-to-face encounter.Evan Vucci/AFP/Getty Images
Pope Francis exchanges gifts with President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump during a private audience at the Vatican on May 24, 2017. President Trump met Pope Francis at the Vatican today in their first face-to-face encounter.

The visit to the Vatican was the third stop of Trump's tour of sites representing three major religions. Over the weekend, he stopped in Saudi Arabia, where he delivered an address to Muslim leaders, and Monday through Tuesday he visited Israel and the West Bank and met with Israeli and Palestinian leaders.

Trump and Francis certainly had differences to iron out during their meeting. In February 2016, the pontiff remarked on then-candidate Trump's key proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, saying it was not Christian.

"A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges is not Christian," Pope Francis said.

Trump responded with a statement calling Francis' remarks "disgraceful."

"No leader, especially a religious leader, should have the right to question another man's religion or faith," Trump said. "They're using the pope as a pawn and they should be ashamed of themselves — that's the Mexican government — they should be ashamed of themselves for doing so, especially when so many lives are involved and when illegal immigration is so rampant and so dangerous and so bad for the United States."

Asked recently what he expected from his meeting with Trump, given their differing views, Francis replied, "I will tell him what I think. He will tell me what he thinks. But I never wanted to judge someone before I listen to the person first."

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  • DBA

    Two men on totally opposite poles of beliefs and morals.

  • Pi_Boson

    I guess a 15 minute discussion with deceitful donald dump is extensive, perhaps "good" since dump's attention span is maybe 10 minutes.

    Donald dump is so deplorable!!!

  • ncyankee

    David, the comment about the fly on the wall was uncalled for. Like Anderson Cooper.....need I say more?

  • Donmustgo

    What do you want to bet that the Pope's dissertation on Climate change gets tossed into a dusty corner somewhere and never read?

  • operafan33

    Trump has really found the right word for people like the "evil coward of Manchester" and those who are trying through deceit to hurt America. The word is loser.

  • Michael McCall

    Yeah there's chubby trump kissin up to everyone. Then later when his twitter thumb gets itchy, he'll be insulting and back stabbing as usual......p.s.....Climate Control? If trump was talking Climate Control, then he was speaking ancient Egyptian. He was talking about something he knows or cares nothing at all.

  • Matthew Newgarden

    The Pope's "huge" wall was built in 847 A.D. to protect the Vatican from repeated attack and sacking by Islamic invaders.

  • John Springer

    Good for the Pope and Trump both acted professionally and civilly, building a framework to allow cooperation as much as possible. I think the whole Pope , Vatican thing is silly these days but many adherents.

  • stamped human bacon

    His Holiness and his assholiness... what a fine pair.

    (Laugh while you can... I don't expect this post to last long)

  • Matthew Newgarden

    The Pope resides in Vatican City, officially the Vatican City State, in a walled enclave of approximately 110 acres with a population of 842 within the city of Rome. The smallest internationally recognized independent state in the world, it is an ecclesiastical or sacerdotal-monarchical state ruled by the Bishop of Rome – the Pope.The Pope's huge wall was built in 847 A.D. to protect the Vatican from repeated attack and sacking by Islamic invaders. So security when needed for the Papacy is fine, for others not so much.

  • Pi_Boson

    Get out the vote next year, so we can make dump change his gear, it will not result in a tear, but certainly make him again appear as a rear.

  • duckkdownn

    "Your Holiness, can you teach me how to do that loaves and fishes thing? It will come in handy when we trash food stamps and Meals on Wheels. Amen."

  • duckkdownn

    The Groper-in-Chief meets the Exorcist-in-Chief.

  • Eva

    Millions spent on a trip with a leader that has no real trade or any other positive aspects for the USA. I thought Trump was all about spending less.

  • Nick

    Careful, I wouldn't shake Trump's hand.

    It might burn a bit and you'll get a spray tan stain.

  • b rubble

    "No leader, especially a religious leader, should have the right to question another man's religion or faith," Trump said. "They're using the pope as a pawn and they should be ashamed of themselves — that's the Mexican government."
    So what was the whole Muslim ban and their all terrorists thing about? Also I thought he was all good with the Mexican government last time I checked. Oh yeah that's right, they said they wouldn't pay for the wall again.

    Everything Trump said about his visit with the Pope is just disgusting because you know trump is full of it along with his family. On the bright side in other news, China just granted trump another trademark! Scum.

  • duckkdownn

    The pope also presented Trump with (a book) on the Gospels. "Well, I'll be reading them," Trump said.

    Trump thought he said "Goebbels".

  • YourWorstNightmare

    "Trump wants to stop sharing Gulf of Mexico oil royalties with Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas"

    I love it. Trump again repays his rabid followers by hurting them. All Trumper states which will be hurt severely by this. If it wasn't for oil, most of these states would have no economy. That's what happens when you have year after year of GOPer mismanagement.

  • LizzyinNJ

    Very nice. Melania will now have some books to read to Donnie before he goes to bed.

  • Pi_Boson

    Since Pope Francis is skilled in the art of theology and deplorable donald dump is exceptionally skilled in the art of deceit, a chasm exists between dishonest donald dump and nearly everyone else on the planet when it comes to honesty, integrity, and decency.

    Disgusting donald dump is like a horribly diseased cecum with his inability to be honest due to his narcissistic personality disorder. In fact, disdainful donald dump is perhaps a genital wart on society as those that get close get infected by him as evident by the deplorable behavior.

    Disordered donald dump has never successfully accomplished anything meaningful for people and litigates when he knows he is wrong. Disastrous donald dump is hardly every correct and never in doubt about this.

  • Prophet With Honor

    As Trump's party exited the Pope was heard asking where the bottle of hand sanitizer was ...

  • Jackee

    trump meets with one of the world's leaders in compassion and service to the poor as his new 'budget' comes out and takes away the much needed assistance to programs that help the most vulnerable families and children