President Trump Concludes Vatican Meeting With Pope Francis

(Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump concluded private talks with Pope Francis at the Vatican Wednesday morning, the first meeting between the two leaders.

Trump was escorted through the Apostolic Palace joined by a delegation that included first lady Melania and daughter Ivanka -- both wearing traditional black coverings on their heads -- Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster. Jared Kushner, Ivanka’s husband and senior presidential adviser, was also present.

“Thank you so much,” President Trump said to the pontiff when they shook hands. The two then walked into Francis’ private study where they were seated across from each other at the pontiff’s wooden desk. It’s “a very great honor,” Trump then said at the beginning of the meeting lasting about 30 minutes.

“Honor of a lifetime to meet His Holiness Pope Francis,” Trump wrote on Twitter after the meeting. “I leave the Vatican more determined than ever to pursue PEACE in our world.”

The president’s exchange of views with the spiritual leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics followed Trump’s spin through Saudi Arabia and Israel. Trump will attend this week a NATO meeting and the annual Group of Seven summit of leaders of major industrialized democracies later this week in Taormina, Sicily.

Later on Wednesday, Trump will meet in Rome with Italian President Sergio Mattarella and Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni who will chair the G-7 summit on Friday and Saturday.

(Updates with Trump tweet in fourth paragraph.)