Pope Francis blasted Donald Trump today, saying the Republican presidential candidate “is not Christian” because of his stance toward immigrants.
“A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges is not Christian,” the pope said during a press conference aboard the plane that took him back to Rome after his six-day visit in Mexico. During that visit, he called attention to the plight of thousands of immigrants who risk their lives to go to the US.
Trump, who is a Presbyterian, has made immigration a central topic in his campaign. He famously proposed to build a wall along the border with Mexico, saying the southern country sends criminals and rapists to the US. He quickly responded to the pope’s accusation with a press release calling himself a proud Christian.
“No leader, especially a religious leader, should have the right to question another man’s religion or faith,” he wrote.
He added that the pope might come to regret his words later when ISIL attacks the Vatican—something that would not happen if he’s elected president. ISIL “would have been eradicated unlike what is happening now with our all talk, no action politicians,” he said.
And one of Trump’s senior advisers quickly retorted that the pope is in no position to criticize wall-building, given the Vatican’s heavy fortifications.
Before the pope arrived to Mexico, Trump called the pope “a very political person,” suggesting the Mexican government put him up to influencing American immigration policy.
The pope didn’t take offense, saying that under Aristotle’s definition of a person as “animal politicus” that only makes him human. As for his role as a pawn of Mexican authorities, he added, “I’ll leave that up to your judgment and that of the people.”
Asked whether he would advise his American flock on who to vote for during the upcoming presidential election, Francis said he would not get involved.