After Trump Snub, Spicer Finally Meets Pope Francis

Former press secretary attended pope's annual meeting for lawmakers
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 30, 2017 1:02 AM CDT
Sean Spicer Finally Gets Chance to Meet Pope Francis
Former White House press secretary Sean Spicer walks up the steps of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building adjacent to the White House in Washington. Vatican spokesman Greg Burke confirms the former White House press secretary attended a meeting with Pope Francis on Sunday, Aug. 27, 2017.    (J. Scott Applewhite)

Sean Spicer finally got to meet the pope. The former White House press secretary attended an audience with Pope Francis Sunday as part of an annual meeting of the International Catholic Legislators Network, Vatican spokesman Greg Burke confirmed Tuesday. A photograph posted on Vatican Radio's English Facebook page from the event shows Spicer sitting in the front row, taking photos of the pope with his phone. Spicer, who is Roman Catholic, had been left off a list of White House officials who had the chance to meet with Francis in May when Trump visited the Vatican. The omission struck many as a slight by Trump against the embattled aide and drew sympathy on social media. Spicer announced his resignation last month, but remains on the White House payroll through the end of August, the AP reports.

In announcing the audience Sunday morning, the Vatican press office said the pope gave a "brief greeting" to the 250 or so participants gathered. Both Vatican Radio and the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano said the pope delivered a message that included his usual call for lawmakers to "build bridges" between different political perspectives. He also implored the gathered lawmakers to work for the poorest and most marginalized people in their countries—"especially the many who are constrained to leave their countries." Trump criticized the pope during his 2016 presidential campaign after Francis said that anyone who wants to build a wall—as Trump had promised to do along the southern border with Mexico— was "not Christian." The two appeared to bury the hatchet during their May meeting, when the pope joked with first lady Melania Trump about what she was feeding her husband. (Read more Sean Spicer stories.)

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