PRESS RELEASE – Thrusting himself into the combative 2016 presidential campaign, Pope Francis said Thursday that GOP frontrunner Donald Trump “is not Christian” if he calls for the deportation of undocumented immigrants and pledges to build a wall between the United States and Mexico.
The Pope, who was traveling back to Rome from Mexico, where he urged the United States to address the “humanitarian crisis” on its southern border, declined to say whether American Catholics should vote for Trump.
But Francis left little doubt where he stood on the polarizing issue of immigration reform.
“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,” the Pope told journalists who asked his opinion on Trump’s proposals to halt illegal immigration.
Trump immediately fired back on Thursday, calling Francis’ comments “disgraceful.”
“No leader, especially a religious leader, should have the right to question another man’s religion or faith,” he said in statement. Trump added that the government in Mexico, where Pope spent the past five days, has “made many disparaging remarks about me to the Pope.”