Trump calls the Pope's comments disgraceful

2016-02-19 11:54
(Chuck Burton, AP)

(Chuck Burton, AP)

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Vatican City - Pope Francis on Thursday criticised US presidential candidate Donald Trump's comments on migration, saying that building walls to keep people out is unchristian.

Trump, leading candidate for the conservative Republican Party's nomination, fired back via social media, saying that the pope's comments were "disgraceful."

Francis spoke on his flight back to the Vatican from Mexico, where he celebrated mass near a section of the US border is fenced.

Trump has proposed extending the fence along the entire US-Mexico border.

"A person who only wants to build walls, wherever he is, and not build bridges, is not Christian. This is not in the gospel," Francis said about Trump's policies in an in-flight press conference, according to a Vatican statement.

Francis ducked the question of whether Catholics could vote for the outspoken real estate mogul, who has dominated the early election season with his fame and populist style.

"I am not meddling," the pope said. "I am only saying: If he says these things, this man is not Christian. We have to see if he has said these things. And this is why I am giving [him] the benefit of the doubt."

A senior media advisor of Trump, Dan Scavino, replied on Twitter: "Amazing comments from the Pope - considering Vatican City is 100% surrounded by massive walls."

On Facebook, Trump himself charged that Mexican officials had "made many disparaging remarks about me to the pope, because they want to continue to rip off the United States, both on trade and at the border, and they understand I am totally wise to them."

He said Francis "only heard one side of the story, he didn't see the crime, the drug trafficking and the negative economic impact the current policies have on the United States."

Trump said he was "proud to be a Christian" and accused the pope of questioning his faith: "No leader, especially a religious leader, should have the right to question another man's religion."

Using the opportunity to bash US President Barack Obama, Trump claimed that the Vatican is the highest target of ISIS terrorists.

If attacked, he said, Francis "would have only wished and prayed that Donald Trump would have been president because this would not have happened. [The ISIS movement] would have been eradicated, unlike what is happening now with our all talk, no action politicians."

Read more on:    donald trump  |  pope francis  |  us  |  us 2016 elections

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