The Pope's Gift to President Trump Might Make Your Head Explode

When Barack Obama gave the queen a collection of his own speeches as a gift, he set the bar pretty low for future Presidents. But what do you get the guy who has everything and wants nothing? Wednesday on radio, Glenn talked about the gifts President Donald Trump and Pope Francis exchanged.

"Donald Trump gave him a case of books from Martin Luther King," Glenn said.

Now, get out the duct tape. The gift the Catholic pontiff gave President Trump might make your head explode.

"The pope gave Donald Trump a medal by a Roman artist," Glenn said. "The pope also gave him three books: the 'Topics of Family,' the 'Joy of the Gospel,' and 'On the Care for Our Common Home,' (the environment)."

Glenn's radio co-host Pat Gray nearly lost it when he heard the pope gave Trump his encyclical on climate change.

"Ugh," Pat groaned.

Author Paul Kengor joined the program to discuss the visit and compare it to Ronald Reagan's first visit with John Paul II nearly 35 years ago to the week.

Enjoy the complimentary clip or read the transcript for details.

GLENN: Hello, America. Welcome to the Glenn Beck Program. The president has just left the pontiff. He was in Rome. The exchange books and exchange gifts. Now, the last president we had, remember his first tour? Oh, my -- remember he gave the queen a DVD, which she couldn't use in England, of all of his greatest speeches. We all are pretty sure that Donald Trump thinks highly of himself. Even Donald Trump didn't give a gift of all of his greatest gifts. So what did he give the pope? And who did the pope give him?

Meeting with the pontiff, we begin there, right now.


GLENN: So they get together. They exchange gifts. I mean, what do you get the pope? I mean, a guy who literally has everything. Oh, you got me a nice little statue. Good. Thank you, I'll put that over in my desk, right next to the Michelangelo. I mean, what do you get that guy, who has everything, including his own face on bottle openers?

PAT: I had an idea, but I --

STU: You thought better?

PAT: Uh-huh.

STU: Yeah, okay.

GLENN: You may not think better when you hear what the pope gave to Donald Trump.

STU: Because it's not only a guy who has everything, but also a guy who is outwardly telling you that material things don't matter.

GLENN: Correct.

PAT: So where do you go?

GLENN: Correct. That's when you walk in and say, "Hey, pope, I just was thinking about you. And I thought, you know what, you don't want any material things. So I bought a little something for myself."


Okay. So Donald Trump gave him a case of books from Martin Luther King, and the pope gave Donald Trump a medal by Roman artist that said what that was, was an olive. I mean, when a Roman artist is making something for the president of the United States, you wonder, yeah, then how can it looks like a pile of crap? No, no. It's an olive. But he gave him an olive, a symbol of peace. And apparently the president said, "We can use peace." The pope also gave him three books: The Topics of Family, the Joy of the Gospel, and the Care of our Common Home, the environment.


GLENN: He then gave him --

PAT: Oh, man.

GLENN: And this is what is going to set Pat off. Look out, he's going to be screaming to the pope, "Get off my lawn."

He also gave him his encyclical on climate change.

PAT: Ugh.

GLENN: So hopefully -- hopefully that will help Donald Trump, you know, understand --

PAT: Yeah.

GLENN: -- that you got to do something on climate change.

PAT: And not just something, we need to spend -- well, according to the Al Gore group, 50 trillion. And according to that other group, 90 trillion, was it?

STU: Just the 90 trillion.

GLENN: Yeah.

Paul Kengor is with us. He's the author of a new book called A pope and a President. A Pope and a President. It's an amazing book. If you love Ronald Reagan, you have to buy this book and read it. A Pope and a President: Ronald Reagan and His Relationship with Pope John Paul.

Paul, welcome to the program. How are you, sir?

PAUL: Hey, good, guys. Great to be with you.

GLENN: Good. So what are your thoughts on the visit with Donald Trump and the pope?

PAUL: Well, you know, I was first struck at how different this is from Ronald Reagan and John Paul II, right? You know, to have -- with those two, when they first met, which was ironically 35 years ago almost to this exact week, when the two of them met at the Vatican for the first time --


PAUL: Yeah. That was June 1982. And, you know, those two went in with all sorts of commonalities. I mean, they agreed with the international situation, domestic situation. They both had been, you know, shot, the year before, and both miraculously survived these assassination attempts.

GLENN: They both agreed --

PAUL: So when they came together --

GLENN: They both agreed clearly on the definition of evil as well.

PAUL: They did. And to both of them, the one clear international threat was atheistic Soviet communism. And these two, as well, with Francis and Trump -- you know, they might agree that the dominant international threat is Islam, or radical Islam. But they don't, in any way, I think, share any sort of common mission on how to respond to it.

GLENN: Do you think that the pope -- hang on, where are you getting that the pope really understands radical Islam? I mean, he -- he seems to almost be towing the same line that you would hear from CNN.

PAUL: Right. Right. Yeah, he's been very, let's say, merciful, right? Which is a common word of his, being sort of the pope of mercy. He's been very charitable, merciful toward Islam. But I think, really, if pressed -- and I think he and Trump, from what I can tell, so far and what I've read about the meeting, I think they agreed, at least on the threat of Islam in terms of religious persecution. Because that seems to be an issue that was brought up at the Vatican between the two of them. But I think the difference, Glenn, is how would they respond to it, right? You know, how would they talk about it publicly? You're never going to have Pope Francis condemning radical Islam in the way that Trump did, or the way Trump has. Or referring to it in the kind of incendiary language that Trump has. So the difference is probably not necessarily on how they recognize the threat, but how they respond to it.

GLENN: So -- we're talking to Dr. Paul Kengor. He's the author of A Pope and A President: The Meeting Between John Paul -- and the friendship between John Paul and Ronald Reagan.

Here we have the guy who is probably the biggest -- he's almost a caricature of capitalism. And to somebody like Pope Francis, who grew up in South America, who is not favorable to capitalists at all, he must view Donald Trump as -- as everything that he stands against. And I just can't imagine -- what do you think the pope was -- what do you think the pope's message to him was, privately?

PAUL: That's a good question. Yeah, I don't know if they talked about that at all. The actual statement that came out from the Vatican -- I'm looking at it right now. Boy, it's not even maybe 100 to 200 words long. So there's hardly anything to it at all. And it says that they talked really about common areas of agreements, such as -- as it says, a commitment in favor of life. That would be unborn human life, I would think. Freedom of worship. Freedom of conscience.

And it also says that areas -- I think it says that they brought up immigration. They talked about the Middle East, the protection of Christian communities.

So I don't think he brought up any of his sort of, what's seen as anti-capitalist viewpoints from Pope Francis. I doubt they really talked economics much. I doubt they talked climate change much.

But as you guys mentioned, Glenn, that encyclical, it's called Laudato si', that addresses all of those topics. When he said -- when he gave that to Trump and two other statements -- and Trump actually said, "I'll read these," which is impressive for Trump because the guy hardly reads anything, right? I mean, he said he doesn't read books. These are -- and these are -- they're not quite book length. But I think Laudato si' is maybe, off the top of my head, 50 to 70 pages. So it's a pretty in-depth read. But it talks about economics, climate change, but it also talks about family. It talks about how, if we're going to care for God's creation, we need to not just care about the environment, we need to care about God's creation of the little ones in the womb, for example.

So there's still -- I mean, there are some pretty obvious areas of disagreement. But they also have some pretty important commonalities that I don't think people are giving them credit for.

GLENN: Has Donald Trump -- does anybody know -- has Donald Trump ever met with a pope before?

PAUL: I doubt he has, yeah.

GLENN: I'm just wondering, was this something that you think was moving or special to him in any way? As a guy who has done everything he's wanted for his whole life --

PAUL: Yeah, I think it was.

In fact, the CNN headline on this was very interesting. At, I think the title was something like, Trump tells Francis, "I won't forget what you said. I won't forget what you said." And there's something about the Vatican. You've been there.

GLENN: Yeah.

PAUL: I've been there. When you walk into St. Peter's Basilica, I mean, you can have an ego the size of Donald Trump, but all of a sudden, you're humbled by that environment. You know, you're humbled by -- by -- he apparently took a tour through the basilica, through the actual Vatican. They met, I think, in the Vatican library, which is where Reagan and John Paul II met when they met for the first time 35 years ago. And also, just simply when -- you know, I've talked to people who have met popes, who have met Pope Francis.

And when you meet with that bishop in white -- and in Francis' case, somebody with a very calm, friendly, winsome demeanor. I think it probably humbled Trump. And the pictures that I saw of him and Ivanka, you know, slightly veiled. Melania veiled. Melania even apparently -- this is according to the National Catholic Register, gave a rosary to the pope and asked him to bless it. I mean, I don't know if it's her rosary.

GLENN: Well, she came from a very Catholic company -- she came from a very Catholic country, did she not?

PAUL: Right. Well, that's true, she did. And the pope even made a couple references to different Slovenian dishes that he knew of. And Slovenia was -- I mean, that was part of the Balkans area that the Soviets and the communists were dominating from the 1940s to the 1980s.

GLENN: Right.

PAUL: So, you know, they probably -- in that respect, she surely has a respect for the Catholic church -- I mean, she noted that she was Slovak. And Pope John Paul II was the first and only Slovak pope.

GLENN: Paul, thank you for your analysis on this. Can't urge the audience enough. Please, if you like Ronald Reagan, you are going to love Paul Kengor's book. I'm still waiting for an autographed copy, Paul, but no rush.

PAUL: Oh. You got it.

GLENN: A Pope and a President. The story of John Paul and Ronald Reagan. This friendship that changed the world. It's a tremendous, tremendous read. Paul, thank you so much for being on.

PAUL: Okay. Glenn, take care.

GLENN: You got it.

STU: Noticed how you happened to make a story about the pope and the president, about you, which was an interesting trick there. Quite an achievement.

GLENN: Well, I thought it was the only way I could get an autographed copy on the air. I could write him all day, and he's not going to do it. Now he's got to. Now he's got to.


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