News ID: 137010
Published: 0753 GMT February 19, 2016

Trump takes slightly less offensive line on Pope Francis

Trump takes slightly less offensive line on Pope Francis

US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has taken a slightly less offensive line on Pope Francis after calling him a “pawn” of the Mexican government and his comments about Trump “disgraceful.”

On Thursday, Pope Francis publicly questioned Trump's Christianity over his call to build a border wall with Mexico to prevent undocumented immigrants entering the United States.

“A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian. This is not in the gospel,” Pope Francis said, after journalists asked his opinion on Trump's anti-immigration statements.

Trump immediately fired back at the Pope, calling his comments “disgraceful.”  He also said the head of the Roman Catholic Church is a “pawn” of the government in Mexico, where he has spent last five days.

On Thursday night, however, Trump changed his tone and said he believes the Pope’s criticism was probably a little bit nicer than first reported.

"He has a lot of personality," Trump said. "He's very different, he's a very different kind of a guy, and I think he's doing a very good job. A lot of energy."

He added that Pope Francis was misinformed when condemned his proposed wall between the US and Mexico.

Trump, who has never held elected office, is still leading the Republican presidential primary field, despite the fact that his campaign has been marked by controversial statements, including with disparaging remarks about Mexican immigrants and Muslims.

Trump says he would deport 11 million undocumented workers from the United States and would establish a “deportation force” for this purpose.

He has also promised to expel undocumented immigrants and build a wall on the US-Mexico border. In addition, he has proposed repealing the constitutional right to citizenship of anyone born on US soil.

Trump has also created a furor in the US and around the world by proposing a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims” entering the United States, following a mass shooting in California.

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