The pope’s gift to Trump is the subtlest shade we’ve seen all week.
During his trip to the Vatican this week, President Trump received a thoughtful present from Pope Francis: “Laudato Si,” the encyclical on climate change the pontiff published in 2015.
Francis slipped the slim book in with a few of his other works on peace and economics, real smooth like.
Based on reports of Trump’s disinterest in delving into lengthy material during his intelligence briefings or just reading, it seems unlikely that he’ll keep his promise to get through the entire encyclical. “Laudato Si” has more than 40,000 words and leans on biblical references and emotive language (Mother Earth pops up a couple of times). It also makes grave warnings about climate change and its threat to humankind, a risk that Trump has downplayed and denied.
So how could Pope Francis have encouraged Trump to read his encyclical? A few suggestions:
- Replace every mention of seawalls with “Great Great Wall” (full disclosure: the encyclical never actually mentions seawalls).
- Put the whole thing in tweet format.
- Publish it in Breitbart, or have it read aloud on Fox News.
- Put it on the back of the ketchup bottle he squirts on his steak.
- Tell him that Barack Obama and Tom Brady were overhead joking that Trump would never read it.
Of course, Pope Francis could have ribbed Trump about being able to hold a book with such tiny hands but the pope seems too classy for that.
This story was originally published by Grist and is reproduced here as part of Climate Desk.
Writer for Grist.