News / USA

    Other Republican Candidates Respond Cautiously to Pope-Trump Clash

    FILE - Pope Francis blesses faithful during his visit to the Morelia Cathedral in Mexico's Michoacan state, Feb. 16, 2016. The clash between the pope and Donald Trump comes just 2 days ahead of the South Carolina Republican primary,
    FILE - Pope Francis blesses faithful during his visit to the Morelia Cathedral in Mexico's Michoacan state, Feb. 16, 2016. The clash between the pope and Donald Trump comes just 2 days ahead of the South Carolina Republican primary,
    Cindy Saine

    In the midst of a U.S. presidential campaign that has already defied precedent and expectations, a sharp exchange on immigration between Republican front-runner Donald Trump and the head of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis, is now dominating the conversation.

    On a flight back to Rome after visiting Mexico, a reporter asked the pope about Trump’s plans to build a massive wall on the U.S. border with Mexico.  Pope Francis said: “A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian.”

    At a campaign rally in South Carolina Thursday, billionaire Donald Trump responded swiftly, saying the pope questioning his faith is “disgraceful.”  At a nationally televised Republican town hall Thursday evening on CNN, Trump appeared to soften his stance. He said he has a lot of respect for the pope, that Pope Francis has a lot of personality, and that he may have been given wrong information about his border plan.

    The clash comes just 2 days ahead of the South Carolina Republican primary, where recent polls show Trump with a big lead over the rest of the Republican field.  The other Republican candidates responded cautiously when asked about the Trump-Pope exchange.

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign stop, Feb. 16, 2016, in Beaufort, S.C.
    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign stop, Feb. 16, 2016, in Beaufort, S.C.

    ‘That’s between Donald and the pope’

    At the same town hall, Former Florida governor Jeb Bush said the pope is an inspirational leader of his church, but he does not think it is appropriate to question Trump’s Christian faith.   Ohio Governor John Kasich, who is also Catholic, said: “Put me down in the pro-pope column.  He has opened that walls and doors of the Church to a lot of people who don’t understand it.”

    Earlier Thursday, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who is also Catholic, also praised the pope, calling him “the holy father.”  But he said the U.S. has a right to keep people safe by enforcing immigration laws.  Texas Senator Ted Cruz, who has clashed sharply with Trump on a number of issues, did not attack him on this, saying:  “Listen, that’s between Donald and the pope.  I’m not going to get in the middle of that.”

    Candidate and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson said the clash between the pope and Trump would be hilarious if it weren’t so sad.  But he also defended the tough border security stance: “enforcing our immigration laws is not in contradiction with love and kindness.”

    Pope Francis speaks to journalists aboard his plane during his flight from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, to Rome, Italy, Feb. 17, 2016.
    Pope Francis speaks to journalists aboard his plane during his flight from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, to Rome, Italy, Feb. 17, 2016.

    ‘Trump has no positive plan’

    Father Thomas Reese is a Jesuit priest and a senior analyst for the National Catholic Reporter. In an interview with VOA Thursday, Reese strongly agreed with Pope Francis’ stance on immigration, saying  it is not right to fence off human beings.  Reese blasted Trump’s remarks on immigration and border security: “He has no positive plan to deal with immigrants.  He just wants to round up any illegal immigrants in the U.S. and ship them out. I mean that is 10 million people.” 

    Trump also said that if Islamic State terrorists attack the Vatican, the pope would hope and pray that he is president.  Reese said the pope is not afraid of being killed, and that lots of popes throughout history have been killed for their faith.  Reese said he does not believe the clash will have a lasting impact on the race, though he did say he believes that most Catholic Republicans “are not buying” Trump’s candidacy.  He also said Catholics are known for overwhelmingly picking the winner in presidential races.

    Catholics make up about 25 percent of the U.S. electorate, but are not strongly represented in the next primary state, South Carolina.  Nationwide, Catholics have been swing voters in recent elections, switching from Republicans to Democrats.  A CNN poll from last September showed that 63 percent of Americans have a favorable opinion of Pope Francis.

    The pope visited the United States last September and became the first pope in history to address a joint meeting of Congress.  Concern for immigrants and the poor was at the heart of his message during that trip. Polls show that immigration is also a major issue for Hispanic Catholics in the United States.

    WATCH:  Walls explainer

    Walls Continue to Proliferate Across Globei
    X
    VOA News
    December 18, 2015 2:28 PM
    Walls are as old as humans, and often are built to keep others out and offer protection. They also are used to keep people contained in one area, and they can be extremely divisive. The Great Wall of China, the Berlin Wall and myriad border walls can be found across the world and within all countries. But walls also can fall or be torn down. Such barriers, though, are cropping up a faster rate again across the globe, and even more are planned.

    You May Like

    Russian-speaking Muslim Exiles Fear Possible Russia-Turkey Thaw

    Exiled from Russia as Islamic radicals and extremists, thousands found asylum in Turkey

    US Presidential Election Ends at Conventions for Territorial Citizens

    Citizens of US territories like Guam or Puerto Rico enjoy participation in US political process but are denied right to vote for president

    UN Syria Envoy: 'Devil Is in the Details' of Russian Aleppo Proposal

    UN uncertain about the possible humanitarian impact of Russian proposal to establish escape corridors in Aleppo

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Marcus Aurelius II from: NJ USA
    February 19, 2016 9:29 AM
    The Pope never said anything about European governments that are already installing razor ribbon wire to protect their borders from people fleeing to save their lives, only about Donald Trump. This Pope should stay out of American politics. Everyone seems to have an opinion of what America should do. How fortunate only Americans get to vote here. Is Ted Cruz an American? Is he qualified to run for office? Is he even qualified to vote? Shouldn't a court decide that BEFORE the election?

    by: PermReader
    February 19, 2016 7:24 AM
    The leftist pope-the first from from Latin America. Unlucky experiment? Liberation theology of pope?

    by: Alan from: Melbourne
    February 19, 2016 2:52 AM
    Mr Trump needs prison walls to protect American children from paedophile priests.
    The Catholic church has not acted effectively on this matter.
    Mr Trump needs walls to protect America from human trafficking & the drug scourge that an ineffective border with Mexico poses.

    by: lone eagle from: Bangkok, Thailand
    February 19, 2016 1:38 AM
    Pope Francis said: “A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian.”

    Jesus Christ in Luke 10:16 to Peter, the first Pope of the Church of Christ stated "He who hears you hears me, and he who rejects you rejects me, and he who rejects me rejects him who sent me."

    James 2:14-17 "What does it profit, my brethren if a man says he has faith but has not done works? Can his faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and in lack of daily food, and one of you says to them, "Go on peace, be warmed and be filled," without giving them things needed for the body, what does it profit? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead."

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Philadelphia Uses DNC Spotlight to Profile Historic Role in Founding of United Statesi
    X
    July 28, 2016 2:16 AM
    The slogan of the Democratic National Convention now underway in Philadelphia is “Let’s Make History Again” which recognizes the role the city played in the foundation of the United States in the 18th century. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, local institutions are opening their doors in an effort to capitalize on the convention spotlight to draw visitors, and to offer more than just a history lesson.
    Video

    Video Philadelphia Uses DNC Spotlight to Profile Historic Role in Founding of United States

    The slogan of the Democratic National Convention now underway in Philadelphia is “Let’s Make History Again” which recognizes the role the city played in the foundation of the United States in the 18th century. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, local institutions are opening their doors in an effort to capitalize on the convention spotlight to draw visitors, and to offer more than just a history lesson.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora