Friday, February 19, 2016

Pope spokesman clarifies Trump comment

By Lisa Hagen

(The Hill) A spokesperson for Pope Francis clarified the pontiff’s criticism of Donald Trump’s plan to build a border wall, saying that the remark wasn’t “a personal attack.”

On Thursday, the pope told reporters on his plane that building walls “is not Christian.”

But the pontiff’s spokesperson said it’s a comment he’s made before, adding that the pope wants to avoid weighing in on American politics.

“The Pope said what we already know, if we followed his teaching and positions: we shouldn’t build walls, but bridges,” the spokesperson said in a statement, according to CNBC. “It’s his generic view, coherent with the nature of solidarity from the gospel.”

“This wasn’t, in any way, a personal attack or an indication on who to vote for,” the spokesperson continued. “The Pope has clearly said he didn’t want to get involved in the electoral campaign in the US and also said that he said what he said on the basis of what he was told [about Trump], hence giving him the benefit of the doubt.”

During a Thursday rally in South Carolina, Trump needled the pontiff for his criticism and said that he publicly questioned his faith.

“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," he said.

But at a CNN town hall later that night, the real estate mogul said he respects Pope Francis, adding that “he has a lot of personality.”

"I think he said something much softer than was originally reported by the media," he said.


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