As his boss puts a call out to white supremacists on national television last night and the county as a whole continues to burn both figuratively and literally, Donald Trump’s Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is currently attempting to get a little R&R in Rome. The last time he visited he got quite the welcome, complete with a private visit with Pope Francis himself as well as a visit just outside of Rome to his ancestral home. However, this time, the Pope was not here for Pompeo’s shenanigans.
With November’s election just a few short weeks away and on the heels of last night’s debate debacle — so bad, in fact, that Italian headlines were full of criticism of Trump’s debate performance this morning — the city of Rome simply was not welcoming of one of America’s biggest embarrassments. So much so that the Pope himself actually refused to meet with Pompeo during his visit, according to a report from The Daily Beast.
Naturally, the Vatican press office was questioned as to why the Holy Father gave Pompeo the cold shoulder this go around when he seemed to be so welcoming of him during his previous visit earlier in the year. Their response was that the Pope prefers not to conduct visits with high-ranking government officials during a time so close to such a big election. ANSA news agency pressed Bishop Paul Richard Gallagher, the Vatican’s Secretary for Relations with States, asking him to confirm if the reason behind Pope Francis’ refusal “amounted to exploitation of the pope in the final stages of the U.S. presidential campaign.”
Gallagher confirmed, answering, “Yes, that is precisely why the pope will not meet American Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.”
But evidently, that was just one of a few reasons why the pontiff wasn’t itching to spend any one on one time with Trump’s jockey.
The report claims that the Pope was upset with Pompeo regarding his comments on the Holy See’s growth in China, and found himself angry with the U.S. Secretary of State when Pompeo penned a piece in the conservative Catholic magazine First Things earlier this month, pressuring the Vatican to pull out of the agreement.
Pope Francis has made the Chinese Catholic Church one of his biggest, more important priorities since his 2013 election and he’s clearly not about to allow anyone, including Mike Pompeo, to pressure him out of his work to ensure that Chinese Catholics can be blessed by the Vatican.
It sounds like Pompeo is best served just keeping his nose on his face where it belongs, finishing up his business in Rome, and getting outta there.