Pope Francis and President Donald Trump exchanged gifts on Wednesday during a meeting Trump later called “fantastic” and “an honour.”
Although the Pope initially appeared stony-faced, the mood appeared to lighten after the men presented one another with the gifts, according to the travelling pool of reporters who observed part of the meeting.
Trump gave Pope Francis a first-edition set of Martin Luther King Jr.’s writings, including all five of his books: “Stride Toward Freedom,” “The Measure of a Man,” “The Strength to Love,” “Why We Can’t Wait,” and “Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?”
He also gave the Pope a piece of granite from the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial’s “Stone of Hope” statue in Washington, DC, and a bronze sculpture named, “Rising Above,” which the White House said represents “hope for a peaceful tomorrow.”
The books and the granite were a nod to Pope Francis’ 2015 address to Congress, in which he praised King’s civil rights legacy, the White House said.
In return, Pope Francis gave Trump three of his writings, which he typically gives to heads of state, including “Amoris Laetitia,” “Evangelii Gaudium,” and “Laudato Si’“. The documents concern topics such as family, the joy of the gospel, and the environment.
Trump was effusive in his gratitude, the travelling pool said, and repeatedly thanked the Pope as he explained the gifts he was giving Trump.
Pope Francis also gave Trump this year’s World Day of Peace message about non-violence, telling Trump, “I signed it personally for you.”
“Ooh,” Trump replied. “That’s so beautiful.”
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