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Earlier this weekend, Donald Trump came under fire for his rash response to a comment made by one of the world’s most admired religious leaders. For the first time since he announced his campaign, his unfiltered and unapologetic mouth has backfired, causing him to adopt a new weapon in his arsenal – a proverbial swallowing of words.
“I don’t like fighting with the Pope,” Trump clarified at a town hall debate in South Carolina, so as not to be confused with the people of the world who do like fighting with the Pope.
As we all know, Trump has garnered a reputation for speaking his mind. Similarly, Pope Francis has earned himself a spot on the world’s list of most outspoken individuals. His holiness consistently speaks on controversial topics of Catholic doctrine, making waves in the media and delivering statements to a much more progressive tune than those of his predecessors.
I feel uncomfortable beginning this article noting a common denominator between Trump and the Pope, but there is something to be said for their respective “come at me” personas. Both leaders also possess a masterful control of Twitter. The Pope even subtweets Trump on occasion.
During his recent visit to Mexico, Pope Francis seized an opportunity aboard the papal plane to comment on the GOP frontrunner’s polarizing and ambitious immigration plan. (For the sake of posterity and in case you don’t have a TV, I’m going to re-iterate Trump’s intricate GP: to build an $8 billion wall along Mexico’s border, as well as deport the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants currently living in the US).
“A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian,” said Pope Francis on CNN in response to a journalist’s question about Trump. “This is not the gospel.”
A Trump campaign official countered the Pope’s accusation, arguing that the perimeter of the Pope’s humble abode is enclosed by a thick and tall wall. His attempt at dismissing the Pope was quickly shot down by a Vatican spokesman, who aptly pointed out that, unlike America, Vatican City has a mighty large door. He has a point.
Trump, in typical fashion called the Pope’s questioning of his faith “disgraceful.”
“No leader, especially a religious leader, should have the right to question another man’s religion or faith,” added Trump. It’s true – the leader of the Catholic Church has no place deeming actions as Christian ones. What was he thinking when he spoke on Christian morals??
As usual, Trump’s method for diffusing the situation and avoiding the negative spotlight is to blame the press. He’s probably hoping that his “Hail Mary” was enough to get him back in the pontif’s good graces. His narcissism knows no limits.
This sure is a brand new tone from the GOP candidate, who isn’t one to give a critic a second chance. Trump’s candor and insult tactics could prove to be catching up with him. Until now, it seemed as though Trump was more like the “teflon Don” than a presidential candidate. It seemed he could say or do just about anything, and it would have little to no negative effect on his supporters. But between his aggression toward the Pope and his remarks about George W. Bush and 9/11 during a debate last Saturday, Trump may have taken a hit in the polls. While almost every major poll has the businessman ahead with a substantial lead, a new poll by the Wall Street Journal and NBC has Trump in second place, behind Ted Cruz. It’s the first time Trump has lost his lead since October. While the poll of course has a margin for error, it is a refreshing sign that the American voters do, in fact, possess boundaries that, when crossed, demand repercussions.