Friday 20 July 2018

I can keep the Pope quiet by warning him of Isil, claims Trump

Pope Francis holds a poster reading ‘It’s time for Argentina and Britain to discuss the Malvinas’ at the Vatican
Pope Francis holds a poster reading ‘It’s time for Argentina and Britain to discuss the Malvinas’ at the Vatican

Rachael Alexander in New York

DONALD Trump's limitless capacity to put his foot in it surfaced again yesterday when he announced that he would keep Pope Francis in check over denouncing capitalism by scaring him into silence.

He said he would remind the pontiff that Isil was intent on invading the Vatican.

His latest detonation came during a sweeping interview in which he took on Hillary Clinton, attacked illegal immigrants and said he would allow women to fight in American special forces.

Despite one gaffe after another, Mr Trump is still the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination - at least according to the polls. But his strong views and plain-speaking style have drawn fire from opponents and the media.

In an interview with CNN, he was asked about the forthcoming US visit of Pope Francis, who has repeatedly said that capitalism was responsible for many of the world's problems.

Mr Trump, who described himself as a Protestant, said he would like to meet the Pope, but he would not stand for any comments that capitalism was toxic or evil.

"I'd say, 'Isil wants to get you'," he said. "You know that Isil wants to go in and take over the Vatican. I'm gonna have to scare the Pope because it's the only thing.

"The Pope, I hope, can only be scared by God. But the truth is - you know, if you look at what's going on - they better hope that capitalism works, because it's the only thing we have right now.

"And it's a great thing when it works properly."

It has been reported that the Pope's advisers have urged him to tone down his criticism of capitalism to make his message more palatable to American audiences during his visit to Washington, New York and Philadelphia next month.

Iraq's ambassador to the Vatican said last year that Isil was plotting to kill the Pope.

Mr Trump was also questioned about his attitude to women, an issue that has caused him trouble several times already in his short campaign.

He said he believed female soldiers should be allowed to fight on the frontlines, though he would take soundings from generals before changing policy were he to become president.

And he underscored his position on immigration, repeating his promise to revoke automatic citizenship for children born in the US to undocumented immigrant parents and to deport people who had arrived illegally.

"You know, this country is so politically correct. Nobody wants to take a stance on anything," he said.

"Now they like to use the word undocumented because it's more political - I don't use that word.

"They're illegal immigrants. They came over illegally. Some are wonderful people, and they've been here for a while. They've got to go out."

Separately yesterday, the Pope posed with a propaganda poster backing Argentina's call for dialogue with Britain over the Falkland Islands.

The move risked angering residents of both the islands and Britain, which has always considered its sovereignty beyond question.

The Argentine pontiff, who has previously refused to get involved in the disagreement, was visited at the Vatican by an activist from the "Dialogue for Malvinas" campaign.

He presented the Pope with a sign reading: "It's time for Argentina and Britain to discuss the Malvinas."

Britain and the islanders have long rejected calls for dialogue, with the argument that there is nothing to discuss.

The islanders voted overwhelmingly to remain British in a March 2013 referendum.

"The UK has no doubt about its sovereignty over the Falkland Islands and surrounding maritime areas," said a spokesman for the UK Foreign Office.

"Nor is there any doubt about the Falkland islanders' right to decide their own future - the right of self-determination as enshrined in the UN Charter and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights."

Argentina, on the other hand, has repeatedly called for a bilateral discussion between London and Buenos Aires, excluding the islanders themselves.

They base their argument on a December 1965 UN resolution from the Decolonisation Committee, which "invites the governments of Argentina and Great Britain to proceed with a view to finding a peaceful solution to the problem."

Irish Independent

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