Saturday, May 20, 2017

Donald Trump's first foreign trip is a lot like a pilgrimage. And that's the point.

Matthew Bell,
Image from article, with caption: U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump board Air Force One for his first international trip as president, including stops in Saudi Arabia, Israel, the Vatican, Brussels and at the G7 summit in Sicily, from Joint Base Andrews, Maryland

After his visit to Saudi Arabia, Trump will spend some time in Israel and then fly to Rome, where he will visit the Vatican. ...
The easiest part of the tour for Trump will probably be at the Vatican, where the president will meet with Pope Francis, one of the most popular leaders on the world stage.
It is an open secret, however, that these are two men with very different personalities, says Thomas Reese, a Jesuit priest and a senior analyst for the National Catholic Reporter.
“Pope Francis is a humble man who lives … a poor lifestyle, identifies with the poor, reaches out to the poor,” Reese says.
“President Trump has got this huge ego. And his policies, you know, are not really all that much concerned about the poor. He’s pushing tax cuts for the rich.”
There are other policy disagreements between Trump and Francis, Reese points out. These include the treatment of immigrants and refugees, the wall Trump has planned for the US border with Mexico, and the global effects of climate change.
Still, the pope has indicated that he will not use a public meeting with Trump to challenge or embarrass the president. That is not how the Vatican conducts public diplomacy. Any substance to come out of the meeting between Trump and Francis is likely be hashed out behind closed doors. ...

No comments: